Man holed up in hilltop home vows no surrender in tax case

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PLAINFIELD, N.H. (AP) – A couple who says the law does not require them to pay income taxes continued on separate courses Wednesday, she in federal court in Concord, he barricaded at his fortress-like home in Plainfield.

In interviews by telephone and later at the back door of his hilltop home on 110 wooded acres, Ed Brown denounced the government and noted a handgun tucked in the front of his pants. He said supporters as far away as Australia were offering to come help him defend himself if necessary.

“Most Americans would cower and cringe and raise their hands and surrender like a good little slave,” Brown said.

“I won’t. Under no circumstances. I do not tolerate cowardliness, oppression, bulliness, and I certainly don’t tolerate a federal agency that has absolutely zero jurisdiction in my state, never mind in my county, in my town.”

The Browns haven’t paid federal income taxes since 1996 because they don’t think the law requires them to pay. They argue there is no law requiring individual income taxes. They faces charges of conspiring to evade taxes, conspiring to disguise large financial transactions and disguising large transactions.

Elaine Brown, who earned most of the couple’s income, returned to Concord court on Wednesday to continue her trial for tax evasion and failing to collect employment taxes from the staff of her Lebanon dental office. The jury began deliberations on Wednesday but did not reach a verdict.

Ed Brown’s trial also continued, with him absent.

“Because he has voluntarily absented himself, he will be tried in absentia,” U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier said.

Marshals talked with Brown, but said there are no plans to storm the property. E-mails and Web sites have directed supporters to join Brown, asking “Will Plainfield be another Waco?”

“We’re not going there,” Monier said. “Let’s put this in perspective: every day, we have deputies out arresting dangerous persons.” Brown is not one of them.

“We have no intent of escalating this,” he said.

Brown, meanwhile, wasn’t taking chances.

The large home has a circular tower affording a 360-degree view of the property, which sits off a rural road. Brown said the home’s walls are made from 8-inch concrete and if marshals cut his power lines, he can run his home from generators, solar and wind power.

A handful of supporters, including Bob Wolffe of Randolph, Vt., joined him on Wednesday and more were expected.

“Most people are too willing to sit and watch ‘Who Loves Raymond?”‘ said Wolffe, who also does not pay taxes. He said he expects he will be in a Brown-like situation within years.

“We all need to work together and fight the government,” he said. “A win here will be the government admitting they were wrong and back off. … There’s a lot more of us than there are of them.”

John Miller, a 23-year-old from New Hampshire, joined the huddle inside Brown’s home.

“If they come, I’ll do what we ought to do,” he said.

Brown met with reporters for about 45 minutes outside his home. A day earlier, he invited reporters inside, but on Wednesday addressed them from inside his door frame. A Kubota tractor sat in front of him.

“I don’t know all of you,” Brown said, later instructing a photographer to stay back. He said federal snipers had targeted him two years earlier and that he could be surrounded again.

In a tirade against the government, the media and global warming, Brown also detailed how his wife, a dentist, was forced to close her practice and lay off her employees.

“We just had reached the American Dream a year ago. All our debts were paid. Now they’re here to shut us up permanently,” he said.

Brown pays his local taxes of $14,000. “Show me the law and I’ll pay the taxes,” he said of the federal tax.

Three vehicles blocked Brown’s driveway and a sign at the end of the winding path read, “Fed bullies: leave the Browns alone.” On a nearby tree, a large sign warned “public servants” and government officials not to trespass. A “Don’t Tread on Me” flag was hung on a tree.

There was no sign of any law enforcement nearby.

During the past few decades, Brown has claimed membership in several anti-government and 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.

Brown said there’s a possibility the situation will end peacefully, if the government leaves him alone.

“If they attack me, I have no choice do I,” he said.

“Do I see it turning out any other way? Yeah, there’s a possibility if they stay away and all obey the law of the land” and let his wife go free.

If not or if he is murdered, he said he and his supporters would demand accountability.

“If I should be killed or imprisoned, or my wife is killed or imprisoned, or both, those responsible will join us,” he said.

AP-ES-01-17-07 1834EST

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