A standoff is brewing in Plainfield, New Hampshire, between income-tax protester Ed Brown and federal law-enforcement officers continues. While Brown is wrong when he says the government has no law on the books that imposes an income tax on Americans (see US Code Title 26), he is right if he believes taxation violates his natural rights. One can only hope this confrontation ends peacefully.
Here's the background from the Concord Monitor:
The jury deciding Ed and Elaine Brown's federal tax evasion trial found the couple guilty on all counts yesterday.
Elaine Brown, who the prosecutor said owed more than $625,000 in unpaid taxes, was in court to hear the verdict. Her husband, who decided to stop attending his trial last Friday, remained barricaded in the couple's fortified home in Plainfield.
Both Browns were found guilty of conspiring to defraud the government, conspiring to conceal large financial transactions and concealing large financial transactions. Elaine Brown was also found guilty of five counts of tax evasion and eight counts of failure to pay employment taxes for the staff of her Lebanon dental practice. Elaine Brown was convicted of seventeen felonies. Ed Brown was convicted of three felonies.
The Browns will be sentenced April 24. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Morse, the prosecutor, the Browns' sentences will probably fall between three and five years each, and may include the forfeiture of property. The IRS will also begin civil procedures to collect back taxes, interest and penalties, he said.
"I just hope this case sends a message to other people who might consider relying on frivolous tax protester theories," Morse said.
Throughout the trial, the Browns argued that they stopped paying taxes because they believed the law didn't require them to pay. During their opening statements and in cross examination, both Browns said they did not believe the federal government had jurisdiction over them and that they did not believe ordinary labor could be taxed."The arguments they put forth have been routinely dismissed," Morse said yesterday. "The government is going to prosecute people who do not pay their taxes."
Elaine Brown would not answer questions yesterday. But Michael Avery, a friend who has acted as the Browns' paralegal throughout the trial, said that she was upset about the outcome and planned to appeal. Avery said that Elaine Brown felt the judge had prevented her and her husband from making a full defense by denying nearly 40 of the couple's pretrial motions and rejecting much of their proposed evidence.
"It wasn't a fair fight - that's all," Avery said. "They tied our hands behind our back."
Ed Brown, reached at home, said that he wasn't surprised by the verdict. He, like Avery, said that the judge had prevented the couple from presenting a full defense.
"The whole thing is rigged," he said.
Ed Brown has not been to court since Jan. 11 and said he has no intention of returning. In interviews over the past few days, he has said that he is readying himself for a shootout with federal officials. His hilltop home was built with 8-inch-thick concrete walls and can function without outside power or water, Brown said in an interview this summer. Several supporters have joined Brown at the house and Brown said he expects them to stay for the foreseeable future.
Morse said that he believes a bench warrant has been issued for Brown's arrest and that Brown will be in police custody before his sentencing in April.
But U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier said that his agency is in no rush to arrest Brown and has "no plans of going up there to create a confrontation."
"We're going to try to convince him to come down and submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court," Mounier said. "That's been our goal."