The former truck stop president was convicted of fraudulently scamming truckers at the pumps. He was found guilty of these charges on Feb. 15, 2018. He has been on house arrest since that day and in September he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. Although his sentencing was scheduled to begin on November 23rd, the day after Thanksgiving, it is now looking as though his prison date is being pushed back. The former Pilot Flying J president had previously made an effort to stay free on bond during the appeals process.
It was his desire to remain free until after Christmas, claiming to be a “devout Christian”. This request was originally denied, but has now been brought into question because of a recording that was played in court. The tape was recorded by an undercover FBI informant after a Pilot Flying J’s meeting. It disclosed Hazlewood making racist remarks, including a slur about interracial couples, while singing along drunkenly with a David Allen Coe song.
According to Knox News, Hazelwood’s attorney is arguing that the tape was “vile” and “despicable” and should have never been played in court. He stated that playing this recording swayed the jurors against their client, to the point of no return. Hazelwood is also requesting to have his house arrest anklet removed so that he can commute around Eastern Tennessee as he pleases, and refurbish his boat and private airplane in order to sell them.
GIVING UP THE TOYS —
Pilot Flying J's former prez says he's ready to sell his airplane & boat to show he's no risk to flee the country.
Mark Hazelwood is appealing his criminal fraud case and wants a break on the terms of his home confinement.@wbirhttps://t.co/mPYx3iCnPA pic.twitter.com/DBPsYyPJG7
— jnbeatlefan (@jnbeatlefan) November 15, 2018
The Federal prosecutors haven’t said whether they will oppose the motion or not, and it is unclear when U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier might rule on the request. Although removing Hazelwood from house arrest is still in question, it is clear that he will be basking in his freedom for at least a few more months. Thanks to a David Allen Coe song, Mark Hazlewood will be spending Christmas at home after all.