CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood convicted of fraud will get to spend Christmas at home after all.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports an appeals court on Tuesday approved Hazelwood’s request to remain on house arrest until he finishes fighting his conviction.
Hazelwood’s lawyers argue his taped racist remarks including a slur about interracial couples prejudiced jurors against their client.
The appeals court ruled the argument “raises a substantial question” to be sorted out on appeal.
The ruling translates to a roundabout reprieve that will last at least through Christmas and likely much longer, the newspaper reported.
Hazelwood was set to report to prison Nov. 26 — the first business day after Thanksgiving.
— to begin serving a 12-and-a-half year sentence after a federal jury convicted him in February of wire fraud, witness tampering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud
U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier had previously refused repeated efforts by Hazelwood to avoid or delay reporting to prison, from asking to stay free on bond during the appeal process to requests to postpone his first day behind bars until after New Year’s.
Hazelwood failed to show “any religious — as opposed to family — needs regarding Christmas that the Bureau of Prisons would not be able to accommodate,” Collier wrote.
Pilot’s rebate program offered discounts on diesel fuel to trucking customers in exchange for guaranteeing a minimum number of gallons per month. Sales reps promised rates based on wholesale fuel costs plus a pumping fee, usually a few cents per gallon.
Pilot staff calculated the discounts day by day, for what became known as a “manual rebate” — called “Manuel” for short. Shorting customers a few cents here and there added up to big money fast — and to bigger profits, commissions and bonuses.
Pilot Flying J is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. The Haslams haven’t been charged with wrongdoing.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.