In this April 14, 2015, file photo, state Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, attends a House floor session at the state Capitol in Nashville, Tenn. Armstrong was indicted on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, on federal fraud and tax evasion charges. Armstrong quietly resigned from his position Wednesday.

KNOXVILLE — The Latest on state Rep. Joe Armstrong's federal tax evasion trial (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

The jury in state Rep. Joe Armstrong's federal tax evasion and fraud trial is going home for the weekend without reaching a verdict.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the jury, which had begun deliberations on Friday afternoon, was sent home after submitting a question to the judge about the culpability of taxpayers who rely on accountants.

Federal prosecutors allege that Armstrong conspired with the accountant to hide his earnings from a cigarette tax stamp investment from the IRS.

The lawmaker testified earlier Friday that he was swindled by his accountant, who Armstrong's attorneys have said pocketed the money that would have covered the tax.


4 p.m.

The jury has begun deliberating on a verdict in the federal trial of state Rep. Joe Armstrong on tax evasion and fraud charges.

WATE-TV reports that the case went to the jury on Friday afternoon.

Armstrong took to the stand earlier Friday to blame his accountant for the failure to pay taxes on a more than $300,000 return on a cigarette tax stamp investment.

Federal prosecutors allege that Armstrong conspired with the accountant to hide the transaction from his constituents and the IRS.


1:15 p.m.

State Rep. Joe Armstrong has testified during his federal tax evasion trial that he failed to disclose his earnings from the sale of cigarette tax stamps because he was unfamiliar with what were then new ethics disclosure forms.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Armstrong testified for three hours in his defense on Friday. The longtime Democratic lawmaker is charged with failing to report more than $300,000 in earnings from the investment related to a cigarette tax hike that he had voted for.

Armstrong blames his accountant, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges and testified against the lawmaker at trial.

The requirement for lawmakers to file statements of interest went into effect in the aftermath of the FBI's 2005 Tennessee Waltz bribery sting that led to the convictions of five former state lawmakers.


11:30 a.m.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are preparing the closing arguments in the federal tax evasion trial of longtime state Rep. Joe Armstrong.

WATE-TV reports that Armstrong, a Knoxville Democrat, testified on Friday morning that he was duped by his dishonest accountant into believing the taxes has had been paid on more than $300,000 in earnings from an investment into cigarette tax stamps.

Armstrong said he mistakenly failed to disclose the windfall stemming from a 2007 cigarette tax hike on the statement of interest forms that public officials are required for file with the state ethics bureau.

Prosecutors allege that Armstrong hid his investment and didn't pay his taxes because of concerns over a political fallout over making money off tobacco.

Closing arguments were expected to begin on Friday afternoon.