October 2, 2009

Tax activist Elaine Brown was given a virtual death sentence of 35 years today, according to the Associated Press. In July, Brown was convicted along with her husband of plotting to kill federal agents during a nine-month standoff at their Plainfield, New Hampshire home. Brown’s lawyer asked for a sentence of 35 years. The government wanted to impose a 41 year sentence.

Ed and Elaine Brown at the 2007 Freedom Concert at their Plainfield, New Hampshire home.

In April 2006, Edward and Elaine Brown were indicted in the United States District Court in New Hampshire for numerous federal tax violations. The government accused the couple of not paying federal income taxes since 1996. They had not filed income tax returns since 1998. The government claimed they were responsible for taxes of more than $625,000. The Browns countered with tax protester statutory arguments and said the government had not presented any law requiring them to pay income taxes.

In April, 2007, the Browns ordered a court clerk to close their case and vowed to resist the case. Ed Brown published an open letter presenting his arguments against the government and pleaded with supporters to come to his home to aid in his defense against the government.

During a “standoff” at the Brown “compound,” as the corporate media described their home, United States Deputy Marshals disguised themselves as supporters and arrested the couple on October 4, 2007. “Ultimately, this open-door policy that they [the Browns] seemed to have which allowed the Browns to have some supporters bring them supplies, welcome followers and even host a picnic—this proved to be their undoing… They invited us in. We escorted them out,” Stephen Monier told the media on October 5.

After their arrest, Ed Brown complained that he was singled out for abuse by the government. Brown said he was tasered, gassed, subjected to sensory deprivation, and isolated from other inmates.

The government also went after Brown supporters. Danny Riley of Cohoes, New York was sentenced to 36 years in federal prison, after having been convicted of helping to supply the Browns, and of stockpiling weapons and threatening law enforcement officials. Riley was convicted of conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and using guns and bombs in connection with the standoff. Also convicted in other trials were Jason Gerhard of Brookhaven, New York. Gerhard was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Cirino Gonzalez of Alice, Texas was sentenced to eight years in prison. Robert Wolffe of Randolph, Vermont was sentenced to two and a half years.

Ed Brown has yet to be sentenced on the weapons and conspiracy charges.

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