Rep. Joe Armstrong testifies in federal tax evasion trial

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – 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.