Websites discussing the Brown's situationMon Jan 22, 2007 13:33Websites discussing the Brown's situation
Ed & Elaine Brown
401 Center of Town Road
Plainfield, New Hampshire
Yahoo News Photos
Thanks for your reports by Kate Davidson and Margot Sanger-Katz? on the Brown case. Generally (and despite the outrages in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and the Patriot Act) Americans hold a high opinion of our justice system. Yet in Ed Brown we see a man so disgusted with its bias that he says he would rather die than be subject further to its jurisdiction.
I hope your remaining coverage will focus on the facts (more than the opinions) of whether he has reason behind a stance that is clearly either very foolhardy or very brave.
He has stated, for example, that Judge McAuliffe? has refused to allow him to present witnesses in his defense. Is that true? If it is even partly true, the U.S. justice system and McAuliffe? in particular owe him a profound apology along with an immediate acquittal.
He has said that he presented some 40 motions to this court, yet the judge dismissed them all without reply. Possibly some of them were foolish - I have no idea. But all 40? Why not publish them, so that your readers can see what this case is about, and whether McAuliffe? was at all justified to wave them away.
And Ed Brown has said that there is no law obliging him or anyone else to pay a tax on what is earned, by him or anyone else - which appears to be what his trial is all about. Is that true? What specific laws have the prosecution identified to counter that remarkable claim, which would affect us all? And what exactly do their words mean, in context?
Some of your readers would like to know, for if justice is being done here, it should be very clearly seen to be done.
Husband and wife are active in militias
Couple face conspiracy charges
By MARGOT SANGER-KATZ
May 25. 2006 8:00AM
A husband-and-wife pair of self-described militia members from Plainfield was arrested yesterday and charged with evading more than half a million dollars in federal income taxes.
Elaine A. Brown, a dentist with a practice in Lebanon, was indicted in New Hampshire U.S. District Court on charges of tax evasion, conspiracy, disguising large financial transactions and failing to collect employment taxes from her employees, a total of 21 felonies. Her husband, Edward Lewis Brown, was indicted on charges of conspiracy and hiding financial transactions, eight felonies total. Both Browns pleaded not guilty at their arraignments yesterday.
Bill Morse, the assistant United States attorney handling the case, said that he believed Edward Brown was "heavily armed and dangerous" and should be held without bail until the couple's trials in July. He described the badge Brown wears as a national commander of The Constitutional Rangers of the Continental Congress of 1777 and the 35 guns that Brown says he owns. Morse said recent improvements to the Browns' home made it "essentially a fortress." He also repeated a series of inflammatory statements that Brown has made to newspaper reporters, local police officers and FBI agents who have interviewed him.
"He believes the federal government is plotting to take all of our freedoms away," Morse said
Magistrate James Muirhead disagreed and released both Browns on the condition that they relinquish all of their firearms, submit to searches of their home and refrain from entertaining guests with guns. A probation officer was sent with Dr. Brown to locate and remove the guns in the house before her husband was released.
Over the last decade, Edward Brown, a retired cockroach exterminator, has claimed membership in several anti-government militia groups including the Constitution Rangers of the Continental Congress of 1777, the Constitution Defense Militia, and the Unamerican Activities Investigations Commission, which he founded.
In 1996, Brown said that he believed the federal government was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing and became a prominent spokesman for militia groups, appearing in Time magazine, Newsday, and the Los Angeles Times. He also made an unsuccessful run for the New Hampshire Legislature that year.
Dr. Brown has been less vocal about her militia involvement, but Morse said she was also a member of the Constitution Defense Militia. Court records suggest that she earned several hundred thousand dollars each year from her dental practice.
From 1999 to 2003, the Browns also refused to pay the school portion of their property taxes in Plainfield and Lebanon, until tax liens threatened the deeds to their home and business, according to newspaper accounts and the Plainfield tax collector. In February 2003, Edward Brown told the Connecticut Valley Spectator that their non-payment was an act of civil disobedience against a school system that was indoctrinating children in "Communism, humanism, bigtime, homosexuality and cultural-political engineering," in violation of the constitution.
Four months later, the Browns paid their back taxes. But it wasn't because Edward Brown changed his mind, another Spectator article said, but because "he wanted to avoid a deadly confrontation that he said would result if the town or city attempted to seize his property."
According to the indictment, Dr. Brown, 65, has not paid any income tax since 1999, when she and her husband, 63, conspired to funnel her practice's proceeds into a trust. The couple is also accused of splitting large financial transactions through postal money orders in order to avoid laws that require reporting any transactions of more than $10,000. Dr. Brown is accused of failing to withhold or pay the income taxes of her practice's employees.
The document says the Browns wrote to the Internal Revenue Service on several occasions to say they believed income taxes were voluntary and they would not pay "until a 'full and proper' investigation proves the legitimacy of the IRS."
During the five years the Browns allegedly did not pay taxes, Dr. Brown earned more than $1.3 million in income, the indictment says.
If convicted, the Browns face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and $250,000 fine for each evasion and conspiracy charge, and 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for each structuring offense. The government also wants to seize their home and the building that houses Dr. Brown's business. A judge granted a restraining order requiring the couple to keep and maintain the buildings until the case is resolved.
Both Browns were armed at the time of their arrest. According to Morse, witnesses say that Brown always keeps a pistol tucked in the waistband of his pants and does not fly because he is unwilling to give up his weapon.
"Brown has been known to boast that he would never allow his gun to be removed from his person while he was alive," read a court document filed by prosecutors.
Morse said witnesses have also reported that Brown has night vision goggles, body armor, and told the Plainfield police he has access to "special weapons."
Morse would not say how long the justice department has been investigating the Browns, but court documents refer to a search warrant of Dr. Brown's Lebanon business executed in November 2004. At that time, court documents allege, a few militia members arrived and told Edward Brown that 300 more were willing to help him defend his property. Brown instructed them to "stand down,"the document said.
In court yesterday, the Browns were indicted separately, but the courtroom staffed double the usual number of bailiffs for both hearings.
Elaine Brown appeared composed, in a skirt and a long knit jacket. Morse agreed with a probation department recommendation that she be released as long as she complied with bail conditions that included surrendering her weapons.
Edward Brown's arraignment was lengthier. He appeared in leg shackles, wearing a dark leather jacket. When he entered the courtroom, he immediately turned to the gallery full of IRS officers, probation officers and federal marshals and grimaced. He then argued briefly with his appointed attorney.
When the judge asked Brown whether he understood the charges against him, he replied, "Not too well." Muirhead decided to settle for Brown's understanding of the penalties he faced if convicted.
Muirhead was not persuaded by Morse's arguments that Edward Brown was dangerous or posed a flight risk. He said that there was nothing illegal about the threats Brown had made or the weapons he's alleged to own.
"He has a right to say what he has said, though this judge may not agree with it," he said .
At several points in the hearing, Morse referred to statements Brown made in interviews with the FBI. But after the hearing he told a reporter that he could not comment on any FBI investigation. The investigation that led to the current charges was a joint endeavor of the IRS, the Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Marshals, with assistance from state police, and the Plainfield and Lebanon police departments. The Browns are scheduled for trial on July 18.
Protesters see income tax as scam
By MARGOT SANGER-KATZ
June 11. 2006 10:00AM
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