DENVER – After spending 104 days in jail, convicted tax evader Douglas Bruce was released early Thursday morning. He made claims of innocence and called the jail system “sadistic” while detailing the “slop” food and his “mistaken” trips to solitary confinement.
Bruce, 62, was convicted in December of tax evasion and three other tax-related crimes tied to his non-profit organization Active Citizens Together. He was sentenced in February to 180 days in jail. However, that sentence was reduced on May 7 for good behavior.
“I’m first going to focus on being exonerated, winning my case, getting it dismissed so that its established once and for all, even to the most gullible reporter that I did nothing wrong.” Bruce told reporters. “Once that’s done then I will rely upon the court system, as bad as it is, to seek justice for having been smeared and branded as a felon and put in your own newspaper next to Al Capone.”
"He is now a convicted felon and he can never get back the time that he served,” said David Lane, “But he can have his conviction expunged from his record and his name cleared.”
Bruce also told reporters that while he was in jail he was sent into “the hole” (solitary confinement) three times. “The first time was for four days, they admitted it was a mistake, I was misplaced by a placement officer,” he said. Bruce claimed the other times spent in solitary confinement were also for unfair reasons after complaining about threats.
“The man was going to slit my throat,” Bruce claimed, “And on Monday I had someone threaten to send me home in a body bag."
Bruce called the system sadistic as he detailed his time spent working in the kitchen. “They serve this inedible, unsanitary food… (the deputies) didn’t serve (the inmates) regular porridge, they served them cream of white, which is tasteless paste,” he said.
He says he was strip searched and given food that he said "looked and tasted like sewage."
Bruce emerged 47 pounds lighter after he refused to eat jail food he called "unsanitary."
He says he plans to sue over the jail's "deplorable" conditions.
Bruce was arrested in April of 2011 for charges alleging that he had earned $178,000 in illegal interest on loans he made to the organization.
The charges, which he was ultimately found guilty of, included filing a false tax return, failing to file tax returns, and lying to the State Department of Revenue.
Bruce is best known for writing the “Taxpayers Bill of Rights” which Colorado voters approved in 1992. The change limits the growth of government and prohibits the state Legislature from raising taxes without approval of voters.
“With TABOR you've taken that away,” said Dr. Bob McGowan at the DU Daniels College of Business. “So it's really restricted what the legislature can and can't do."
But Bruce says he's not done with politics and will not let go his mistreatment in jail.
"I rose above it just like I rise above all of this stuff and I will obtain justice eventually."
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