Doug Bruce sentenced to 6 months, Twitter mourns

Published on: February 14th, 2012

“Mr. Bruce probably has the worst relationship with the Department of Revenue of any citizen in Colorado,” said attorney David Lane on Monday in a classic understatement about his client, Douglas Bruce. Best known as a former lawmaker, kicker of news photographers and the driving force behind the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Bruce has added a new wrinkle to his identity—convicted felon for tax evasion.

Lane was quoted in the Denver Post after Bruce was sentenced Monday to 180 days in jail and six years of probation, reiterating his client’s claim that he is a political target who was singled out for prosecution by state agencies that don’t like his political views.

That’s one way of looking at it. Another was espoused by the judge when she handed down the sentence after his conviction on three felonies related to tax evasion, that Bruce has “absolutely no regard for the rule of law.”

But he has a high regard for dramatic flourish, as was abundantly clear during his trial late last year. Lane, his attorney, is a too-little-too-late addition to Bruce’s legal team, which, during the trial, consisted of Bruce alone. His pro se representation did himself few favors, but it provided one of the most absorbing Twitter feeds in recent memory, the now legendary #dougbruce thread that, from the beginning, was owned by Colorado Springs Gazette reporter John Schroyer.

Tweeting throughout the trial, Schroyer’s ongoing commentary practically brought parts of the Colorado economy to a standstill as followers throughout the state found themselves powerless to look away. How could you, when Schroyer tweeted that Bruce asked him to guard his materials while he went to the bathroom so that the prosecutors couldn’t steal them? Or when Bruce accused the prosecutor of tapping his phones and reading his emails? Or when he tweeted this: “Bruce asked the jurors another question, and when there was no immediate response, Bruce said loudly, ‘HELLO?’”

As one follower tweeted, “I think #dougbruce could have given us no greater gift than to represent himself in his trial. Awesomely funny.” (For a selection of some of Schroyer’s best tweets from the December trial, see John Ingold’s compilation here.)

The tweets were no less entertaining this week, despite Bruce being effectively gagged by his lawyer. But with Bruce scheduled to begin serving his time this weekend, have we seen the end #dougbruce?

Perhaps not. As Schroyer tweeted yesterday: “… Bruce is also appealing the verdict. So this is far from over.”

We can only hope.

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