By JJ MacNab | August 1, 2008
The first two Brown supporters were sentenced yesterday in the New Hampshire Federal District Court to lengthy sentences asÂ a result of their involvement in the nine-month armed standoff involving Ed and Elaine Brown.Â
As you may recall from prior blog postsÂ covering theÂ first round ofÂ criminal trials in detail, Bob Wolffe pled guilty and testified against Jason Gerhard, Danny Riley, and RenoÂ Gonzalez in exchange forÂ aÂ more lenient sentence.Â Â
AfterÂ ten months of working with the federal government providing information and testimony, Wolffe tried his damnedest yesterday to undermine his own efforts.Â From the Concord Monitor:
During his statement to the judge, Wolffe argued that he had never been complicit in the construction of bombs, even though he had delivered some parts to the house. Though Wolffe said he was attracted to the Browns’ resistance to federal authority, he said he never wished to harm agents.
“I never felt that I was outside my constitutional rights,” he said. “I believe resistance to domestic tyranny is what the fight for freedom is all about.”
Both Huftalen and Singal seemed surprised by Wolffe’s words, which minimized his involvement in crimes he had already admitted to committing.
Huftalen responded by giving a detailed account of the information Wolffe had provided to authorities, which included descriptions of the design, construction and placement of improvised explosive devices around the property as well as the Browns’ plans to fortify their property against invasion.
Huftalen said Wolffe had described metal bars behind the doors and a plan to surround the house with rings of increasingly deadly booby traps. Huftalen also recalled Wolffe’s statement, made during his co-defendants’ trial, that Ed Brown had told him about a hit list of enemies who Brown planned to have assassinated.
Singal said he found Wolffe’s court statements troubling.
“Listening to you, I became concerned that you just don’t get it,” Singal said, before outlining the possibility of violence and death posed by the Brown standoff.
What a fool.Â He was 99%Â finished with his ordeal.Â The only thing left to was apologize for his actions and shut the heck up.Â Instead, however, he blasted the judge with attitude and made statements that almost cost him his relatively light 30 month prison sentence.Â Lucky for Wolffe, the judge was in a good mood.
For those of usÂ monitoring the Ed BrownÂ nightmare as it was happening last year, young Mr. Gerhard was something of an enigma in the early months of the standoff.Â Unlike Danny the Dogwalker and Reno “I provideÂ security forÂ the Browns” Gonzalez both of whom were cluttering Youtube and MySpace with evidence of their crimes,Â Jason was a quiet one.Â Â If he hadn’t worn the same blue t-shirt in several of the photos and videos, I wouldn’t have noticed him at all.
Gradually, an interesting trend started to emerge.Â Jason liked to blow stuff up.
On July 5, 2007, Brown supporter Lauren Canario describedÂ what was done with the fireworks that didn’t go off at the partyÂ theÂ night before at the Brown house:
While Jose’s fireworks were flawless, Ed and Jason decided that squirting lighter fluid on the duds was a good idea.
That was somewhat thrilling.
On August 3, 2007, a Brown visitor posted this description of events at the house:
We sat out on the porch for a few hours. Once we got up to test out a homemade M-80. It was successful. Then Jason tried a bomb that he made from chlorine and alcohol. It seemed like a failure until weâ€™d all given up and it exploded and shot chlorine everywhere.
Jason’s presence at the Browns got quite a bit more noticeable when he crashed the Brown car into anotherÂ vehicle and left the scene on foot before he (and his fellow Brown supporter passengers) could be questioned.
Jason was arrested while attending basic trainingÂ at the USÂ ArmyÂ School of EngineersÂ (the military guys who are into bombs.)Â His mother’s house was searched and the marshals found a pipe bomb in his bedroom.Â
The combination of Jason’s rather virulent anti-US government paranoia and rhetoric posted on his MySpace page earned himÂ a nickname last fall:Â the next Timothy McVeigh.Â Â Â
AtÂ the sentencing hearing yesterday, the government brought prison snitch Anthony Dorothy back to the stand.Â Â Â This was the prisoner who had testified that Danny Riley was involved in hanging Tannerite explosives in the trees.Â Apparently, Danny and the prison snitch also talked about Timothy, who the snitch had met in prison several years ago.Â Danny suggested that the snitch talk to Jason, since Jason was a big fan of McVeigh’s work.Â
Ironically, Jason was not found guilty on theÂ explosives charge.Â There wasÂ no physical evidence linking him to the dozens of bombs and explosive devices found at the Brown home. AtÂ sentencing,Â Jason’s lawyers asked the judge for a seven year sentence on the grounds that he was young and stupid.Â The government argued for 30 years, based on the idea that he was the next Timothy McVeigh.Â When itÂ was Jason’s time toÂ make a statement, heÂ lashed out with a bogglingly arrogant andÂ ignorant tirade, claiming the judge only had half a brain and that he, the defendant, had done nothing wrong. From the Concord Monitor:
Â Jason Gerhard, 22, of Brookhaven, N.Y., was sentenced to nearly 10 years more than the federal sentencing guidelines recommended, after he told the judge that he felt “disgust” for the court’s process and did not believe he had done anything wrong.
“This is a kangaroo court,” Gerhard said, when he was offered an opportunity to speak on his own behalf. “How could anyone with half a brain think of imprisoning me for exercising my constitutional rights?”
Danny the Dogwalker is currently undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, and his sentencing will be scheduled once that is complete.Â
Cirino Gonzalez’ sentencing is currently scheduled for September, although there are some rumors spread by Reno himself that new charges may be brought against him.
There have been no announcements of additional supporter trials, although I counted some guns in the ATF video that weren’t among those brought by Reno, Jason, and Danny, and the government all but promised additional charges during the criminal trial for the first four supporters.
And finally, there’s Ed and Elaine themselves.Â We’re likely to see someÂ heavy duty felony countsÂ when their indictment comes around, but I suppose the government isn’t in any rush since they know where theÂ BrownsÂ will be for the next five years or so.Â