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Stephen Baldwin hopes to avoid jail time
Stephen Baldwin's lawyer said the tax-evading actor will avoid jail time under a plea agreement in the works with Rockland County prosecutors.
Russell Yankwitt, hired by Baldwin to fight felony charges stemming from $350,000 in unpaid income taxes, said details should be hashed out at a meeting Monday morning in Rockland County Court.
"I've been told Mr. Baldwin will not be serving any jail time," Yankwitt told Newsday Friday evening. "He has paid back $100,000 in a manner of good faith since the last time we were in court and now we're negotiating the balance."
Baldwin, 46, of Upper Grandview, was arrested Dec. 6 and charged with failing to file personal tax returns from 2008-10. He was arraigned and released without bail the same day and has since been seen on Main Street in Nyack enjoying his freedom.
"We have a conference in court next week and we're going to discuss the case with his lawyer," Rockland County Assistant District Attorney Anthony Dellicarri said, though he would not not confirm that Baldwin will avoid jail time.
The case was moved from Nyack Justice Court to Rockland County Court because Baldwin faces felony charges, which are not handled by the village court, Dellicarri added.
While Baldwin will not appear in the closed-chambers discussion at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Yankwitt will enter into negotiations with Dellicarri before Rockland County Supreme Court Judge Charles Apotheker, Dellicarri said.
"He's appreciative of the government for their understanding," Yankwitt said on Badlwin's behalf. "He hopes to put this behind him and wants to be a productive member of society, make money and pay back the debt pursuant to the agreement and move on."
Yankwitt said although former attorneys and accountants failed to "take care of" Baldwin's financial matters, he doesn't expect any charges to be brought against them.
"Mr. Baldiwn did receive poor advice but did not blame his mistakes on others," Yankwitt said.
If an official plea deal is offered, Baldwin would have two weeks to accept it before a judge in Rockland County Court. If the case goes to trial and Baldwin is convicted, he could face up to 4 years in prison.
As for his 2012 income taxes, Yankwitt said his client is already ahead of the April 15 deadline.
"He has filed his taxes already this year," Yankwitt said. "He has complied with all federal and state laws this year."