- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Latest on the trail of state Rep. Joe Armstrong (all times local):

11 a.m.

Federal prosecutors plan to call the chief of the state’s ethics office to testify in the tax evasion case against state Rep. Joe Armstrong.

Prosecutor Frank Dale said in his opening statement that Drew Rawlins, the executive director of the state Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, will testify that Armstrong did not disclose his more than $300,000 in earnings from the buying and selling of cigarette tax stamps in his annual statement of interest filings required by the state.

While there was nothing illegal about profiting from the cigarette tax hike, Armstrong is charged with failing to pay taxes on those earnings.

Prosecutors argue that Armstrong, who was then the chairman of the House Health Committee, didn’t want to be seen as profiting from tobacco sales. Armstrong’s attorneys say he was the victim of fraud by his longtime accountant.

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9 a.m.

Prosecutors say they expect to complete presenting their case against state Rep. Joe Armstrong by Thursday, the same day that Tennessee primary voters go to the polls.

Armstrong doesn’t have a Democratic challenger for the Knoxville seat he has held for nearly 30 years, but the outcome of his federal tax evasion trial could still determine his political future.

Republican lawmakers are circulating a petition to call a special session to oust Armstrong along with Republican state Rep. Jeremy Durham, who allegedly had improper sexual interactions with more than 20 women.

Armstrong’s attorney has said that the lawmaker plans to testify in his defense once the prosecution rests.

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3:30 a.m.

Even as a Tennessee lawmaker campaigned to pass a hefty increase in the state’s cigarette tax, federal prosecutors say he was putting together an elaborate scheme to enrich himself off the hike.

But longtime state Democratic Rep. Joe Armstrong of Knoxville isn’t on trial in federal court in his hometown this week for the money he made - more than $300,000, prosecutors said in their opening statements Tuesday.

Rather, he’s accused of failing to pay taxes on profits gained from a plan to buy tax stamps at the old rate and sell them at a higher one.

Prosecutors told the jury that political considerations caused Armstrong, who was then the chairman of the House Health Committee, to try to conceal his role and to evade his taxes.

Armstrong’s attorney argued that the lawmaker was the victim of a dishonest accountant.

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