The trial of the Ed and Elaine Brown supporters is being covered by my friend JJ MacNab, who is attending the trial; her daily blogs on the trial can be seen at Bombs, Taxes, and Red Crayons.
For those unfamiliar with the case, on trial are Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez, Daniel Riley, and Jason Gerhard; each of the men potentially faces decades in prison if convicted. The men are accused of providing material support to Ed and Elaine Brown, providing them with, among other things, weapons and explosives. The Browns had been convicted of multiple counts including tax evasion and structuring transactions, and were fugitives when the alleged crimes occurred.
Here’s an excerpt from the latest entry, wherein former co-defendant Robert Wolffe rats them all out pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement:
Witness Robert Wolffe
Bob Wolffe was the fourth defendant in this case. He signed a proffer letter just a few days after the September 12, 2007 indictment and arrest, and signed a plea agreement in January, 2008. Wolffe was wearing an orange prison t-shirt, jacket, and pants, but otherwise looked tidy, composed, and very serious about his situation and testimony.
Wolffe lives in Randolph, VT and first heard of Ed Brown when the Browns were on trial in January 2007 for tax evasion and structuring financial transactions. Over the next eight months, he visited the Brown house roughly 25 to 30 times. He said that he understood that they had been convicted on multiple felony counts and that they were evading arrest.
Wolffe conducted counter-surveillance by following US Marshals when they were following Jim Hobbs (the man who posts comments on this blog), and provided armed security for the Browns by wearing weapons at their home. He also did some target shooting on Ed Brown’s range next to the home. He identified a number of weapons he’d seen others carrying at the home.
Wolffe has been charged with three felony counts in this case, and no counts were dropped as part of his plea agreement. He not only wasn’t promised any leniency by the prosecutors, but he was warned repeatedly that if he lied on the stand, he would be prosecuted for perjury.
Wolffe testified on a number of important issues:
1) He saw Reno and Ed carrying rifles while patrolling the property
2) On another occasion, he saw Ed, Jason, and Danny with rifles again patrolling the property
3) He saw Reno wearing a semi-automatic pistol in a holster and said that Reno told him that he was a security specialist in the military who was there to provide the Browns with security
4) Reno had brought a .50 caliber rifles to the Browns’ home
5) He first met Danny in late April, and Danny was involved in internet dealing with Shaun Kranish of www.makethestand.com
6) He saw Danny and Ed trying to detonate Tannerite using different caliber ammunition and later Ed showed Wolffe the Tannerite baggies in the trees
7) He saw the zip guns in Ed’s garage and Ed and Danny told him about their plan to place blanks in them and set them up as booby traps around the property to act as an early warning system
8 ) Wolffe met Jason in mid-June and said that Jason took care of things around the Brown house
9) Jason had been purchasing weapons for Ed Brown, but the local dealer had decided not to sell him any more
10) Jason told Wolffe that he was joining the military to learn more about military tactics and explosives
11) Wolffe is still a tax denier, but said that Ed and Elaine were convicted felons, so protecting them was a crime
12) Wolffe lied to Keith Champagne in various letters by not telling him about his proffer in September 2007
13) Wolffe was not a Constitution Ranger until the Brown standoff and didn’t know the Browns
14) One of the main reasons Wolffe pled guilty was to protect his wife from weapons charges
15) Wolffe acted as a mail center for various Brown supplies
16) Wolffe provided roughly 6 to 8 pieces of pipe that were later turned into zip guns
17) Wolffe had been in Ed Brown’s bedroom but not his closet (sometimes you have to wonder about the defense attorneys’ questions…)
18) He saw Lauren Canario at the home three or four times, but was unfamiliar with several other names
19) He said that Jim Hobbs lived at the Brown house for several weeks after Reno left
20) Wolffe said that Ed Brown had a “secret hit list” but Wolffe thought that that was between Ed and his God
21) Wolffe said that Ed had asked him to purchase a gun for Elaine, but that he’d refused. “I didn’t want to get involved in the standoff in that way.”
Wolffe didn’t spend that long on the stand but his information was quite forthright and direct. Unlike the other defendants in this case, it would appear that he has a much better grasp of the reality of the situation.
There is much, much more there, so if you are interested in this trial or the subject matter in general, you might want to check out the blog, which is updated daily.