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Tax Protester Sentenced to 37 Years on Weapons Charges

January 13, 2010

Ed Brown, a hero to the tax protester movement, received a 37-year prison sentence on weapons-related charges Monday after a hearing in which he criticized the judge, prosecutors and the federal government.

Brown and his wife Elaine were involved in a nine-month armed standoff with federal authorities at their Plainfield, N.H., home in 2007 after they were sentenced to five years for tax evasion, according to the Associated Press. Elaine Brown received a 35-year prison sentence last October. During the standoff, they had hosted supporters in their home, given interviews on the radio, and set up explosives in the woods outside their home. They were ultimately arrested by U.S. marshals posing as his supporters.

Brown, a retired exterminator, was the spokesman for a militia group called the Constitution Defense Militia and feared a federal government takeover of private property. He had stockpiled an 18-month supply of food, weapons and ammunition. During their earlier tax evasion trial, the Browns were convicted of not paying income taxes since 1996 and not filing tax returns since 1998.

Brown delivered a 45-minute speech to the judge before his sentencing, claiming the government was run by Freemasons and the U.S. Attorney’s Office since the Civil War, according to the AP.

Prosecutors had asked for a nearly 50-year sentence, but Brown’s attorney claimed he suffered from a delusional disorder and asked for the statutory minimum sentence of 30 years for his client. Despite Brown’s laughter and outbursts during the hearing, the judge leaned toward the defense counsel’s request. However, Brown is 67 years old, and the 37-year sentence is essentially a life sentence.

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