Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh's former attorney cannot write off the value of the papers he donated from the case to the University of Texas at Austin, according to a U.S. Tax Court decision last week.
Leslie Stephen Jones was lead counsel for McVeigh, who was convicted and executed for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995. During the course of his investigation, he received photocopies of documents and other materials from the government, including FBI files, photos and tapes.
However, copies of the files also circulated to the Treasury Department, the Justice Department, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma County District Attorney, and the defense team of co-conspirator Terry Nichols.
On August 27, 1997, Jones contacted the university proposing to donate the materials, the same day he was allowed to withdraw from representation of McVeigh. He hired an appraiser so he could claim a charitable contribution amount.
The appraiser only spent a day looking through the 171 boxes of items, and valued them at $294,877. Jones and his wife claimed the deduction on their joint federal tax return for 1997, but the IRS disallowed it, contending that Jones did not personally own the items he donated. The Tax Court agreed with the IRS.
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