By JJ MacNab | January 13, 2010
Summary: In short, Ed Brown was found competent to participate in his sentencing and the judge sent him off to spend 444 months in federal prison. Not that it matters, but this prison term is in addition to the 63 months from the tax-related case. Even if he qualifies for the maximum time off for good behavior, Ed will be 100 years old at the time of his release.
Bottom line, it sucks to be Ed. But my guess is that anyone reading this blog already knew that.
The big day
8:00 am, Monday morning. Security was fairly high, as it has been throughout the Ed and Elaine Brown-related trials. There was no sign anywhere of Joe â€œYou Ruin Peopleâ€™s Livesâ€ Haas, who had been threatening all week to intercept the prison van as it delivered Ed from the Strafford County Jail to the courthouse for the hearing. A cute but tail-less bomb sniffing doggie was there, as well as several law enforcement officers, court security staff, and oodles of US Marshals.
I had expected six-foot walls of snow in New Hampshire in mid-January and was surprised that the accumulation was only slightly more than what I had in my yard at home in the DC area. It was, however, very very cold. While I have experienced single digit temps three or four times in my life, this is the first time that Iâ€™d ever gone below the dreaded zero mark. It was so cold that water oozing through the cracks in the granite walls lining the freeway looked like frozen waterfalls. It was so cold and dry that when I brushed my hair, it formed a ball of static on my head. It was so cold that a few seconds after Iâ€™d used my windshield wipers to clear away the ice, the glass surface flash-dried into an opaque layer of crystals.
I once had a federal prosecutor Iâ€™d never met, walk up to me and ask somewhat imperiously, and with no introduction whatsoever, how I chose which trials to blog. When I replied, â€œI go where itâ€™s warmest,â€ she mumbled something about Wyoming in February, looked relieved, and walked away without ever telling me her name.
I made an exception for Ed Brown. His case is an excellent example of the worst things the right-wing extremist world has to offer â€“ conspiracy theories, tax denial, threats, delusional beliefs, violence, sovereign citizen myths, bombs, paranoia â€“ heck, this case has it all. So I bundled up and headed north.
The courtroom was full as everyone waited for the judge to come in. Roughly forty or so people were in the audience section of the room, mostly government employees and press, with only one Brown supporter in attendance. Ed clanked into the room in his khaki prison jammies and leg shackles, and almost immediately got belligerent with his defense counsel. He kept waiving around a manila envelope as if its mere presence were proof that he was right, and his experienced lawyer was just too stupid to understand. During this childish display, the room was absolutely silent as everyone simply watched Edâ€™s tantrum play out.
The Competency Hearing
The judge took his seat, and the prosecutor introduced their only witness, a Bureau of Prisons forensic psychologist named Shawn Channell.
Judge: Sit down, Mr. Brown.
Dr. Channell sported a prison-chic, â€œvan dykeâ€ beard, and was comfortable on the stand. He has done more than 300 competency evaluations in the past, including six or seven sovereign citizen exams.
He said that Ed was surprisingly compliant during his exam, but was irritated that heâ€™d been referred for a psychiatric evaluation. Ed had made several unusual comments about the government and his trials, and the doctor explained that Ed had an atypical level of “suspiciousness and paranoia.” Â Ed, for example, claimed that he had been tortured with chlorine bleach gas following his arrest. When the doctor looked into the allegation, no such event had taken place. This caused Ed to jump up and start yelling at the doctor, so the judge had Ed hauled out of the courtroom for a 5-minute time-out, â€œjust like a 6-year old child.â€
As he was leaving, Ed yelled out to the audience.
Ed: Jesse Ventura is correct. It is not a conspiracy; itâ€™s a fact.
Fifteen minutes later, the hearing resumed. The doctor said that heâ€™d spent more time than usual with Ed.
Dr. Channell: Heâ€™s very talkative but is not amenable to a question and answer type of interview. He only wants to talk on his terms, so I let him talk and gathered information that way.
By the end of the 30 day evaluation period, the Dr. had ruled out mental illness, but had determined that Ed met the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as predicted in my earlier blog post.
Ed: The narcissistic part of it is probably a little bit true.
The witness said that Ed suffered from grandiosity (Ed laughed out loud in delight), and was boastful, patronizing, arrogant, and tended to exaggerate his achievements (Ed nodded his head in agreement.)
Dr. Channell: He believes he is superior in many ways and said that I should be ashamed of myself and the role that I play at the Bureau of Prisons.
Dr. Channell: Ed claimed that he was fired from his previous jobs because he was so skilled that he was a threat. For example, he believed he could eradicate roaches worldwide.
Ed made a number of claims to the psychologist. When Karen Carpenter was dying of anorexia, Ed said he had contacted her agent with a cure. He also said he provided his expertise to law enforcement during the Waco standoff.
However annoying and arrogant a person with a narcissistic personality disorder may be, it is not a mental illness, according to the witness. Ed understood the charges against him, the role of the prosecutor, the role of the defense attorney, and the duties of the judge.
Dr. Channell: According to Mr. Brown, the judge should be there with the Bible in one hand, and the Constitution in the other.
Cross examination was brief but interesting.
Dr. Channell again explained that there was no record of Ed being gassed or put into â€œa 50 degree cell with a 10 knot wind.â€
The defense attorney pointed out that some of Edâ€™s beliefs were original â€“ the US Attorneys Office was secretly behind the Waco standoff, the Ruby Ridge standoff, the World Trade Center bombing, 911, the Oklahoma City bombing, and millions of deaths around the world. Ironically, Ed never mentioned the one theory that would actually have been true â€“ that the US Attorneys Office was indeed behind his criminal indictment and conviction.
The Dr. said that these beliefs were consistent with his anti-government theories and the narcissistic personality disorder, and explained that having strong beliefs in something that was unbelievable to outsiders did not mean that someone was incompetent. He compared the sovereign citizen movement to a subculture or organized religion in that regard.
Every time the psychologist mentioned one of Edâ€™s pet theories (flag fringe, the Illuminati, UCC bonds, and so forth) Ed proudly waived his manila envelope around in the air and smiled knowingly.
During his examination, Ed had taken a 300+ question written exam, and a couple of the answers did raise red flags: Ed believed 1) that he was the target of a conspiracy, and 2) that others sometimes could hear his thoughts.
The judge found Ed competent to participate in his sentencing hearing, and so the proceedings move on to the next and final act of this melodrama.
Throughout the proceedings, Ed turned to the audience to address his followers and explained to the judge that the people acting as his counsel were seated there as well as some of his fans.
In fact, only one person had actually shown up to support Ed that day â€“ Marie Miller, who some of you may remember as the mother of both Bill â€œEd is worth more to me dead than aliveâ€ Miller, who ended up institutionalized in a mental facility following his brief stay at the Brown house, and John Miller who is currently doing time in prison for threatening to kill the family of a witness in his brotherâ€™s criminal case. Marie was quick to tell reporters after the sentencing that she was not Edâ€™s â€œcounsel.â€ There were no family members there to provide emotional support. There were no Freestaters there to sponge off Edâ€™s press coverage.
The federal prosecutor gave a brief speech detailing what was found in the Brown house (guns, ammo, bombs, explosives, tripwires, etc) and said that they agreed with the pre-sentencing report. The recommended sentence was 570 to 622 months.
Throughout the presentation, Ed tried to talk to the Chief Deputy Marshal in the audience and when the judge told him to be quiet and wait his turn, he started to pantomime his reactions for his fans.
Again, the judge warned him to be quiet.
Ed: Iâ€™m going to address the public, not the court.
When the prosecutors reminded the judge that the Special Operations Group sniper had established a sight on Edâ€™s temple and was ready to pull the trigger, Ed laughed aloud in derision.
When it was finally Edâ€™s turn to talk, he started reading from the US Constitution Rangerâ€™s manual, which continuing to refer to his friends and counsel in the audience.
The judge interrupted and asked that Ed please use the microphone since no one could hear him.
Ed: I will not, and I wonâ€™t do anything the court asks.
His defense counsel turned the microphone in his direction, and Ed thanked him.
Ed claimed that he was just doing research all those years to â€œexpose a cell within the criminal government that will murder millions of Americans.â€ That cell was the US Attorneys Office.
Ed said that he had always admired the US Marshals Service.
Ed: I thought they were pretty good dudes… And women.
He pointed out that the Zionists were responsible for the worldâ€™s problems and hastened to add that he was referring to â€œZionists, not Jews,â€ because â€œJews are my brothers.â€
In fact, Ed blamed everything on the US Attorneys Office â€“ â€œthey orchestrate everythingâ€ â€“ along with the Order of St. John, the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group, the Knights Templar, the Jesuits, the Moose Lodge, the British Accredited Registry, Internal Order of Police, and the Freemasons.
Judge: Did you say the Moose Lodge was responsible?
Ed: Yes, I did.
Ed said that a US Marshal had spent three days in his house and he knew who the person was the whole time. He also claimed that on the infamous Dogwalker Day in June 2007, he knew that there were five special ops snipers in the woods.
Ed: Those US Marshals that came to my land that day are alive because I made a quick decision. I could have killed all five of them.
According to people who have spent time at the Brown house, Ed was such a bad shot, heâ€™d have a hard time shooting the side of a barn.
Ed: I donâ€™t lie. I donâ€™t lie about anything, ever.
He again detailed the evil deeds of the US Attorneys Office â€“ Waco, Ruby Ridge, Flight 800, 911, Oklahoma City.
Ed: Theyâ€™re murdering people all around the world right now through the State Department.
As Edâ€™s time ran out for his allocution, I think he realized that this would be his last stand. Towards the end of his speech, Edâ€™s personality morphed quickly from pompously self-righteous / kind of goofy to malignantly evil. He finally gave us a taste of the private side of Ed, and all I could think about is how Elaine must have felt when this side was turned on her.
He accused the judge of being filthy rich and protested that he was a miss-labeled.
Ed: I am not anti-government, sir. I am the government.
It was now the judgeâ€™s turn to speak. He explained that a sentence must serve multiple purposes, including a â€œneed to promote respect for the law.â€
Ed stood up mid-sentence, and demanded to be removed from the room. The Judge agreed and the Marshals escorted him out. That will likely be the last time that anyone but law enforcement, prison guards, and fellow prisoners ever see Ed.
The Judge continued his speech. He said that he found Ed to be entirely unrepentant.
Judge: He prides himself for his ability to kill multiple Marshals but didnâ€™t out of the goodness of his heart.
Judge: Mr. Brown confuses the ability to promote his views with his decision that everyone must agree with him.
The judge outlined what had happened to the many people who believed in Ed Brown â€“ lives effectively ruined by long prison sentences â€“ yet Ed didnâ€™t care about or feel remorse for any of those ruined lives.
Judge: Mr. Brown, throughout his life, never quite garnered the status he felt he deserved.
The Judge then sentenced Ed to 444 months in federal prison and the proceedings were over.
Danny Rileyâ€™s proffer statement contained a number of intriguing items:
- Danny claimed that Ed abused Elaine.
- He also believed that Ed and Elaine had a suicide pact.
- Danny overheard Ed on the telephone telling an unknown person to â€œtake GILLENS (Chief Plainfield PD) out if he gets hurt.â€
- Both Danny and Bob Wolffeâ€™s proffers described a series of trip wires surrounding the home where the explosives got progressively more dangerous the closer an outsider got to the house.
Stay tuned. There are some really big trials coming up this winter in places with deliciously warm climatesâ€¦