The New Hampshire man who is holed up with armed supporters in his fortress-like house after being convicted of tax evasion says he just wants everyone to pay attention and obey the law.
"I want people to realize that there is no such thing as an obligation to pay income tax," said Edward Brown. "It has nothing to do with the Constitution."
A jury ruled Thursday that Brown and his wife, Elaine, plotted to hide their income and avoid taxes on Elaine Brown's income of $1.9 million between 1996 and 2003. Over 10 years, they also used $215,890 of postal money orders broken into increments just below the reporting threshold to pay for their hilltop compound and for Elaine Brown's dental offices.
After the pair were convicted Thursday on 17 felony counts, Brown and a group of supporters sequestered themselves in his home in Plainfield, N.H.
They say there is no law stating that they must pay tax on Elaine Brown's income. "We told them, 'Show us the law and we'll pay immediately,'" Edward Brown said in an interview Friday.
Brown said the tax-evasion charges were retaliation for a suit he filed against Judge Steven McAuliffe, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Morse and others after authorities raided his wife's dental practice last year.
"They had snipers with state troopers, they had 20 armed officers," said Brown. "What did they need all of them for? Just to download a computer?
"They've ruined my life. My wife is a basket case."
On Thursday, Morse ordered Elaine Brown not to join her husband at their home as a condition of her release until sentencing. She is now living in Worcester, Mass., with her son. The couple has been married since 1985.
"Some people are drawn to the anti-tax movements and the false representation that there is no legal requirement to file and pay taxes. Today's verdict clearly reaffirms the repeated rejection of these arguments in the courts," IRS Special Agent Douglas Bricker said in a statement after Thursday's court ruling.
When asked how many people were with him, Brown declined to cite a number and replied he was with friends and family.
But he added that authorities cannot risk removing him forcibly because "there are so many people involved. I have little old grandmothers staying with me."
Brown described his property as "self-contained" with generators, food, water, and Internet access. He said that supporters are not fearful of coming or going from the premises.
He said Gary DiMartino, a negotiator for the U.S. Marshals, "has been a gentleman," and that neither he nor his supporters have been abused or threatened.
"DiMartino has been honorable and is a negotiator," Brown added. "He's just rather confused after 25 years of brainwashing," he said, referring to the legality of income taxes.
"I told him [DiMartino] you got to do your job. ..."I have been around police all my life. They're my brothers."
Brown said he feels it's his obligation to protect and defend the Constitution by resisting unjust laws.
"We do this for our nation," he said. "I'm a man of honor. I can never lie, cheat, or steal, ever."
Earlier, Brown was quoted by the Associated Press as saying he expected federal agents to swarm his property soon.
"Live free or die," he said, quoting New Hampshire's Revolutionary War hero Gen. John Stark and the state's motto. "What else can I say?"
Bernie Bastian, a Brown supporter who said he was carrying two guns, said he and about two-dozen supporters would stand with their friend.
"He's here at the house, and he's not leaving of his own free will," Bastian said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.