They made a desert and called it peace...

"From this date I date the ruin of all my fortunes."
--George Washington

"The truth is an offense, but not a sin"
--Bob Marley


The United States is a corporation, which is one in the same as "government." Our purpose is to expose this and other corrupted facts. We believe in the Common Law, in the people's judiciary, in the municipalities' sovereignty over the Federal Departments, and in the individual's sovereignty above all other powers over Earth and under God. No rule of law has meaning. Rule of Precedent IS Law.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Second trial unlikely for Browns ally

Second trial unlikely for Browns ally
By Margot Sanger-Katz
Monitor staff
June 17, 2008 - 9:57 am

Prosecutors in the case of a man accused of bringing weapons to the Plainfield home of tax protesters Ed and Elaine Brown have moved to dismiss the outstanding counts against him, effectively asking the judge to cancel his trial, scheduled for next week.

Cirino Gonzalez of Alice, Texas, was convicted in April of conspiring to prevent U.S. Marshals from arresting the Browns following their conviction for tax-related felonies. The Browns were able to hold off federal authorities for nearly nine months last year while they holed up with guns, bombs and supporters in their self-sufficient home, issuing threats.

The jury found Gonzalez guilty of aiding and abetting the couple and conspiring to prolong the standoff. But they were unable to reach verdicts on a second, similar conspiracy count and a charge that Gonzalez had used weapons as part of the conspiracy.

A second trial was scheduled to begin with jury selection later this week. But the motion, filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold Huftalen, asks the judge to dismiss the charges "without prejudice," meaning the government could bring the same charges again at a later date. According to the motion, Gonzalez's lawyer agrees the charges should be dismissed.

"The defendant and the government agree that it is in their respective best interests that the remaining two counts be dismissed, without prejudice, and that the defendant be sentenced on the two counts upon which he has been convicted," the motion reads.

Lawyers working on the case have said they will not comment until a verdict is reached.

During the long stay at their fortified concrete home, the Browns entertained a rotating cast of supporters, who brought them food, weapons and communication with the outside world. Many of those supporters, Gonzalez among them, shared their view that there was no legal basis for the federal income tax. During the prolonged standoff, they hosted concerts, participated in a daily internet radio show and made frequent public threats to harm law enforcement figures should they try to arrest the couple. They were apprehended in October by a team of undercover marshals posing as supporters. According to the marshals, the arrest was made without incident.

After their arrest, agents searched the house and found dozens of improvised explosive devices on the property, more than 20 rifles and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition. A videotaped tour of the house played in court showed weapons and ammunition positioned near windows. Bombs and bomb-making materials were stored beside matches and fuses. Jars of explosive material were nailed to trees with orange targets facing toward windows.

Gonzalez, a former military contractor and naval weapons expert, lived with the Browns for several months last year and described himself at the time as their security expert. He ran errands on their behalf and wrote frequent updates about their story on various blogs and MySpace pages. Evidence offered during his first trial showed that he bought a .50-caliber sniper rifle while living in New Hampshire and brought two other guns with him from Texas. A .50-caliber rifle can shoot at long distances with very high accuracy.

In a video, shown three times to the jury, Gonzalez explained that government agents should be concerned about the military training held by many Browns supporters.

"We have weapons, and we're going to defend ourselves. We know what's going on," he says on the video, shot from the Browns' fourth-floor observation deck, described by one federal prosecutor as a "turret." "This is a serious situation. This is basically a revolution."

According to statements made by relatives and Gonzalez's testimony during the trial, he left the house last June after arguing with Ed Brown about security measures at the house. Much of his defense centered on showing that there were no bombs or bomb-making materials when he was living at the house.

Gonzalez also testified that he had not visited the Browns to help them. He told jurors that he had driven from Texas to New Hampshire in order to capitalize on the attention the Browns were receiving. He said he hoped he would be able to meet other anti-government activists in Plainfield and find a wider platform for his own political causes, which included ending the war in Iraq and stopping the use of depleted uranium in government weapons.

"Their cause wasn't exactly my cause," he testified.

Gonzalez was tried with two other Brown supporters. Both were found guilty of aiding and arming the tax-protesting couple. Jason Gerhard of Brookhaven, N.Y., and Daniel Riley of Cohoes, N.Y., were convicted of conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and bringing firearms to the couple. Riley was also convicted of handling destructive devices as part of the conspiracy; Gerhard faced a similar charge but was found not guilty. A fourth co-conspirator, Robert Wolffe of Randolph, Vt., pleaded guilty to conspiracy and accessory charges and testified during the trial. The men are scheduled for sentencing in August.

Last week, it appeared Gonzalez would plead guilty to at least one of the charges. A hearing was scheduled on his court docket for a change of plea, and Gonzalez's girlfriend, Donna Van Meter, said Gonzalez had agreed to plead guilty to the conspiracy charge if prosecutors dismissed the weapons charge, which carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. Gonzalez did not plead guilty at the hearing.

According to a MySpace post made by Gonzalez's father, Jose Gonzalez, his son changed his mind because the written plea agreement differed from the verbal agreement he had discussed with prosecutors before the hearing.

The Browns are serving 63-month prison sentences for their original tax crimes but have not been charged in connection with the standoff. U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier, who led the investigation, has suggested the Browns will face charges sometime in the future.

There is no indication Gonzalez has agreed to cooperate in any future prosecution. Although he appears to have little love for the Browns - in court, he said that Ed Brown was a "jerk" - Van Meter said he would not promise to testify as part of his aborted plea agreement.

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"I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me, and finding myself unsympathized with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin." --Mary Shelley, from Frankenstein