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JURY DEADLOCKS ON CHARGES AGAINST ANTI-TAX GROUP

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A group, including a Utah man, that sold thousands of "untax" kits may have misunderstood the law when it told U.S. residents they could get themselves exempt from paying taxes, a federal jury foreman said.

A federal jury deadlocked on fraud and conspiracy charges against seven members of the Pilot Connection Society, which said paying income tax was voluntary.U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker declared a mistrial Wednesday after jurors reported a deadlock on most charges after 20 days of deliberations. An eighth defendant, Robert Singleton of Salt Lake City, was acquitted.

A majority of the jurors favored acquittal on the remaining charges, said the foreman, James H. Gilbert of Oakland. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Teters said the prosecution would retry the case.

The defense was helped by a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed a defendant charged with tax fraud or willful tax evasion to be acquitted based on a good-faith misunderstanding of the law, even if the belief was unreasonable.