Standoff Perpetrator, Tax Evader Faces 35 Years In Prison

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Concord, NH—A woman who had maintained a nine-month standoff on a 110-acre compound with her husband, in an attempt to avoid being imprisoned for tax evasion, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Elaine Brown, 68, had been convicted, along with her husband Ed, of a variety of conspiracy and weapons charges, including conspiracy to kill federal agents. The pair had isolated themselves on a fortress-like compound in Plainfield, NH, in 2007 after having been sentenced to five years in prison on tax evasion charges. Nine months later, federal agents posed as supporters in order to gain access to the couple, at which point they arrested them. They were convicted in July.

One of the charges against Brown, possession of destructive devices, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison. The defense, arguing that Brown had been an upstanding citizen and mother until her arrest on tax evasion, requested that she receive the minimum plus one month. Prosecutors, on the other hand, urged that she be sentenced to 41-44 years.

Brown had also argued that she was engaged in lawful civil disobedience, but Judge George Singal dismissed that claim, saying that she was engaged in criminal conduct, not in principled dissent to the law.

When the federal agents stormed the Browns’ property, they found an array of weapons, including 22 pipe bombs and a 50-caliber rifle next to Elaine Brown’s stuffed animal collection, in addition to an explosive device in the kitchen, and bulletproof vests and ammunition in a closet. Brown herself was carrying a handgun that could have killed 17 people without reloading, and also had a fanny pack full of extra ammunition nearby.

A number of supporters had flocked to the Browns’ compound, and were encouraged to do so by Elaine Brown. One follower, a 21-year-old man, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the standoff.

Ed Brown, who had testified that the weapons were kept solely for the purpose of self-defense, and that explosives placed in the woods around the home were intended to scare intruders, is undergoing psychiatric evaluation in order to determine his competency. His sentencing has been delayed pending the results of this evaluation.

Despite her age and the sentence she faces, Elaine Brown has vowed to continue fighting governmental oppression from prison. She continues to claim that she is being punished for civil disobedience and for “daring to challenge and question this massive government.”

 

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