Trial date set for Cody Bass tax case; attorney plans to challenge indictment
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — One of the city’s newly sworn in council members has rejected a plea deal in a tax case, potentially setting the stage for a trial in April.
Cody Bass appeared in court Monday, Dec. 17, alongside his attorney William Panzer. Bass is accused of filing false tax returns, along with other charges, all of which Bass has consistently denied.
Panzer told the judge that Bass was rejecting a plea deal put forward by prosecutors. He told the Tribune after the proceedings that the deal basically would have required a guilty plea, jail time and monetary payments.
Panzer also noticed the court that he intends to file a motion dismissing parts of or potentially the entire indictment. He told the Tribune there were “some problems with how the indictment was found.”
“Basically we’re going to challenge the indictment,” Panzer said.
The indictment was filed in May. In it, the El Dorado County Grand Jury accused Bass of “willfully and unlawfully” filing a false tax return with the intent to evade personal income tax — a felony — in 2012 and 2013.
The indictment also alleges Bass failed to file an income tax return in 2014, also a felony, and the he failed to pay income tax in 2011, a misdemeanor.
Bass, a newly elected member of South Lake Tahoe City Council and founder of Tahoe Wellness Cooperative, has maintained his innocence in the matter, pointing to federal audits from the same time period that found no criminal activity.
He pleaded “not guilty” during a court appearance in August.
Both sides on Monday agreed to an April 2 date for the trial. Should the case go to trial it could take up to nine days, Panzer told the judge.