A federal jury Friday convicted political maverick Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. of 13 counts of tax and mail fraud conspiracy for cheating federal tax collectors as well as his supporters whose loans were never repaid.
After less than two days of deliberations, the jury of eight women and four men also convicted six La-Rouche associates of mail fraud and conspiracy in the case of $30 million in defaulted loans.Chief U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. set sentencing for Jan. 27.
Larouche, a perennial independent presidential candidate who condemned the convictions as an "obscene miscarriage of justice," faces a maximum penalty of 65 years in prison and fines totaling $3.25 million.
The other six face lesser penalties for their roles on the mail fraud and conspiracy charges.
The six are William Wertz, who was LaRouche's chief fund-raiser; Edward Spannaus, his legal coordinator, and fund-raisers Michael Billington, Dennis Small, Paul Greenberg and Joyce Rubinstein.
LaRouche, 66, and the six aides were charged with mail fraud and conspiracy for allegedly raising more than $30 million in loans from supporters without any intention of repaying them.
Defense attorneys said they planned to appeal the convictions.
LaRouche told a news conference later that his conviction was "a wrong, gross, disgusting, obscene miscarriage of justice," which he said was the result of a long "campaign of hate" by the news media and friends of the Soviet Union within the federal government.
"The way the jury voted, I'm dead," he said, adding that he fully expects to be killed in prison if his conviction is upheld in appeals courts.
But LaRouche said he would leave behind an international "anti-Bolshevik resistance" that his followers were willing to fight and die for.
Under questioning by reporters, LaRouche said repeatedly that he felt no remorse for what happened to those who loaned money to his organization, many of them elderly people who have never gotten their money back. "They were wronged, not by us but by the government," he said, which forced several of his groups into involuntary bankruptcy.