Adams seeks to remove prosecutor, further delay sentencing

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Businessman David M. Adams, who is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, possibly to several years in federal prison for tax evasion, is not going easily.

Earlier this month, Adams, 58, of Old Saybrook asked U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant to remove Assistant United States Attorney Susan L. Wines from his case, claiming the federal prosecutor has acted in a vindictive and aggressive manner.

In an affidavit submitted to the court on Nov. 12, Adams wrote that the prosecutor labeled him "one of Connecticut's biggest tax cheats in Connecticut history,' without supporting the claim and attempted to sensationalize the case by exaggerating details of his East Lyme home, known as Orchard Manor.

Judge Bryant promptly denied the motion.

In another motion, submitted under seal to the court the day before Thanksgiving, Adams is seeking continuance of Tuesday's sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Hartford. His attorney, William T. Koch Jr., said this weekend that he couldn't comment. Adams is free on bonds totaling $750,000, but is under home confinement and electronic monitoring.

The government contends Adams, who made $12 million on the sale of two flower businesses and other interests, has engaged in a decadeslong cat-and-mouse game, first by underreporting his income and underpaying his taxes, then by delaying his prosecution and sentencing.

The government is seeking a prison term of 78 to 97 months, which they say is indicated by federal sentencing guidelines, and restitution of $4.8 million. His attorneys are expected to argue for a downward departure from the guidelines and a restitution figure of approximately $2.4 million.

Adams pleaded guilty in October 2017 to two counts of tax evasion, three counts of making and subscribing a false tax return and one count of attempting to interfere with the administration of Internal Revenue Service laws. His sentencing has been delayed several times, most recently due to his hospitalization for kidney failure and cardiac arrest.

The prosecution has kept a close watch on Adams' finances and contended in October that he had used a secret bank account to pay off the mortgage of a vacation home in Mashpee, Mass., that he had used to secure a real estate bond. The property was in foreclosure.

His home on Scott Road in East Lyme, which has five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a heated pool and tennis courts, was sold for $1.8 million at a foreclosure auction on Oct. 27 to the owners of the Water's Edge Resort in Westbrook, according to public records.

Adams wrote in the Nov. 12 statement to the court that the prosecutor erroneously wrote in a sentencing document that the home had an 11-car garage to house his "fleet" of luxury cars. The home had a three-car garage, Adams wrote, with two barns that had bays for an additional eight cars but were used mostly for storage.

"I did own expensive cars," he wrote. "I never owned a 'fleet of cars.' Sensationalism."

Adams wrote also that the prosecutor had attempted to have his bond revoked several times while his case was pending, even though he never tried to flee and does not pose a public safety risk.

"Ms. Wines has come to personally hate me," the statement says. "Not just dislike me, but to literally hate me and she wants to destroy me at any cost."

In denying the motion to remove the prosecutor from the case, Judge Bryant wrote that Adams had failed to state any legal authority upon which his claim for relief was based. The judge also denied the defense's motion to strike from the government's sentencing memorandum a reference to white collar criminals getting off easily in anonymous comments in a story about Adams. Koch wrote in a document that using the anonymous comments to argue for a lengthy sentence "is similar to the government asking the Court to follow the crowds shouting 'off with his head,' as if we were
sentencing Mr. Adams in a court yard, not a court room, like during the French Revolution."

The Day's website now requires commenters on stories to use their real names.

"The portions of the Government's Sentencing Memorandum that Defendant moves to strike are relevant to the subject matter for which they are cited, specifically, the need for the sentence to promote respect for the law on the part of the general public," Bryant wrote in a Nov. 14 order. 

In another recent motion to the court, defense attorney Koch argues for a sentence of home detention based on Adams' age, his medical condition and the nonviolent nature of his crime. Adams would not be able to make restitution to the government while in custody of the Bureau of Prisons, Koch noted in the motion.

The prosecutor's response, dated Nov. 16, indicates Adams' age, "which at 58 and solidly within middle age and hardly remarkable" is not a factor upon which to base a downward departure from federal sentencing guidelines and argues that Adams has continued to refuse being forthcoming about his finances, despite the involvement of the court and probation officials.


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