The Usual Suspects star was briefly detained over charges of felony tax evasion after allegedly failing to settle his $350,000 (£218,750) debt dating back to 2008, but his legal adviser Russell Yankwitt insists Baldwin left the responsibility of paying taxes to professionals as he worked on his career, which included a stint on U.S. reality TV series Survivor.
Yankwitt says, “For one of the years in question, Mr. Baldwin was sequestered on an island when he was on Survivor. Each year in question there was a mitigating circumstance, whether he was on the island or travelling around trying to reignite his movie career.”
The lawyer adds, “Those people let him down. He never intended to deceive anybody.”
Baldwin, who filed for bankruptcy in 2009, pleaded not guilty to the charges during his court arraignment on Thursday and handed over a cheque for $100,000 (£62,500) as a “good faith” down payment on the money owed.
Yankwitt also confirmed the arrest and arraignment had been part of a pre-arranged agreement with state officials, a claim Stephen’s brother, Alec Baldwin, made during a CNN interview on Thursday night.
The 30 Rock star also told newsman Piers Morgan he was not happy with the way his brother had been dragged “through that mud” as he was taken into custody.
Stephen Baldwin has been ordered to appear in court in February (13) to face the counts against him.