Former Ku Klux Klan leader and one-time Louisiana legislator David Duke has been arrested on federal charges of income tax violations and mail fraud.
The indictment follows the acknowledgement Monday of Duke defense attorney Jim McPherson that Duke had returned to Louisiana after being out of the country on speaking engagements for three years.
Duke is charged with filing a false 1998 tax return, as well as mail fraud, in which federal prosecutors accuse Duke of “obtaining a substantial sum of money” through mail solicitations and misusing the money. The income tax allegations stem from the sale of a list of Duke supporters to Gov. Mike Foster several years ago. McPherson said Duke initially failed to pay taxes because of an accountant’s error.
CNN reported that prosecutors were not available today for comment.
Duke had just begun a speaking tour in Russia when federal authorities raided his home in Mandeville, La., in January 2000. Arrest warrants alleged Duke gambled away hundreds of thousands of dollars solicited from donations.
Duke had been lecturing on the survival of the white race against Jews and non-Europeans.
The former KKK leader won a Louisiana House seat in 1988 and lost runoffs for the U.S. Senate in 1990 and governor in 1991.
According to his website, Duke is also founder of EURO – European Unity and Rights Organization, a white civil rights group.
McPherson said Monday his client was back in the U.S. and had contacted him from New Jersey, where he was visiting his sick father. The attorney said he would be talking seriously with federal prosecutors to work out a plea bargain regarding the tax and fraud charges.
“The government has been interested in trying to prosecute David for four years,” McPherson said. “They’ve been investigating this matter, and there’s a time when either they indict you or they don’t. The time to negotiate is before there is an indictment.”