Brown Sympathizer Arrested After Sending E-Mail
WMUR | June 22, 2007
A supporter of Ed and Elaine Brown was arrested Wednesday night on his way to a board of selectmen meeting on charges that he sent a threatening e-mail to a Lebanon, N.H., city councilor.
Video: City Councilor Says She Felt Threatened
Lebanon police said longtime anti-government activist Joseph Haas, of Concord, N.H., sent the e-mail to nine Lebanon city councilors, several state officials, and New Hampshire state police personnel.
In the e-mail, Haas wrote, "Either you do your job, or get of the way." The e-mail also said, "Wise up or die."
The Browns were convicted of tax evasion and are facing jail time. The couple refuses to surrender to federal authorities and have said they will defend themselves to the death.
In the e-mail, Haas said that the state and local officials should be protecting the Browns from the U.S. Marshals Service. Federal officials have maintained a presence near the Browns' Plainfield home, and earlier this month, armored vehicles and bomb-disposal units arrived at the property while a warrant was served at a commercial property owned by the couple in Lebanon.
Haas said that he was expressing his free speech rights by writing the e-mail and that the "wise up or die" statement was a play on the state motto, "Live free or die."
In 2005, Haas was accused of sending a threatening letter to state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte. Those charges were later thrown out.
Haas was released Wednesday night on personal recognizance bail.
Supporters of the Browns plan to hold a candlelight vigil Thursday night in a parking lot at Gunstock resort. Organizers said they expect about 60 people to attend.
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