CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Pastor Anthony Jinwright took the stand in his fraud and tax evasion trial Tuesday afternoon, saying that he now realizes he was paid too much and that his compensation was a burden to his church.
Jinwright’s testimony came under questioning by defense attorney Ed Hinson, hours after the prosecution wrapped up its case in day 14 of the federal trial.
The government alleges that co-pastors Anthony and Harriet Jinwright failed to report about $1.8 million in taxable income between 2001 and 2007. During that time, their indictments allege, the couple received more than $5.3 million in payments and reimbursements from Greater Salem City of God, not including gifts and cash given to them by church members.
In questioning Tuesday, Hinson asked his client if he had handled his taxes properly.
“No, I didn’t,” Jinwright replied.
Did you unlawfully evade your tax obligations or cheat the government? Hinson asked.
“No, not at all did I seek to cheat or evade the government on taxes,” Jinwright said.
Did you feel you were a responsible steward? Hinson asked.
“Not as responsible as I should have been.”
Did you make too much money from the church? Hinson asked.
“I feel that we were blessed tremendously,” Jinwright said. “As I look back over all I’ve seen in this (trial), I think it was too much.”
Then Hinson asked: Do you have any regrets?
"As I look back, I have a lot of regrets," Jinwright said. "…I never sought to be a burden on the ministry. I sought to be a help. As I look back, I now realize it was a burden … And that is very painful to me."