By JJ MacNab | July 2, 2009
I know what youâ€™re thinking. Timelines and arrest warrants are so boooring. When is she gonnaâ€™ get to the bombs?
Patience, young grasshoppers. Hmmmâ€¦. Great big bugs with gooey innards, the other white meatâ€¦
But I digest.
Witness Chief Deputy Gary DiMartino (Continued)
Cross examination of this witness was brief and relatively unenlightening. Defense counsel confirmed that DiMartino spoke with Elaine at length after she violated the terms of her release by going home to Plainfield, but that he usually conversed only with Ed by telephone. The witness characterized these conversations as â€œcordial but guarded.â€
Edâ€™s attorney made a couple of attempts to ask the witness about Edâ€™s opinions regarding the 2007 tax trial, but kept bumping into hearsay objections.
That really pissed Ed off.
He jumped to his feet and yelled angrily at the jury, â€œThis is exactly what happened in the first trial.â€
The judge called for an immediate 15-minute recess and the jury left the room. During the break, Ed got into a heated argument with Elaineâ€™s lawyer, and it was interesting to watch Elaine deal with Ed in pissed-off jerk mode. When she spoke to Ed, she stared down at the floor and controlled her voice but she talked to the attorney, she made eye contact and her voice was animated.
After the break, DiMartino said that Ed had never asked him to â€œshow [Ed] the lawâ€ but that Ed had made the statement that if anything happened to either Ed or Elaine, the people responsible would â€œget theirsâ€ which concerned the Marshals.
Witness Jeffrey White:
Mr. White has worked as a Deputy Marshal for 10 years. In 2004, he was called in to assist the IRS in executing a search warrant for Elaineâ€™s books and records. When it came time to arrest the Browns in 2006 on their tax-related charges, the Marshals surveilled the Brownâ€™s remote and heavily-wooded home , learned that Ed was always armed and was an active militia leader, and decided that a ruse was the best and safest tactic.
Ed always wore a handgun tucked into his pants next to his US Constitution badge, and kept a rifle in his dark SUV which bragged a shiny, big Ranger star badge on the side.
The Marshals tricked Ed into coming into town early one morning by telling him that there was a water leak at Elaineâ€™s building. When they arrested Ed, he reached for his gun, which was loaded with a round in the chamber. He also had two loaded magazines in his pocket.
Elaine was arrested later the same morning, and she too was armed at the time of her arrest.
The Marshals were ordered to remove all of the weapons from the Brown house as a condition of their release pending trial, but they waited until Elaine returned home for fear that the home was booby-trapped.
This witness effectively set the scene for the Marshalsâ€™ state of mind in dealing with the Browns. The couple was armed, the house was a potential deathtrap for federal law enforcement, and a simple ruse had worked well before.
Cross examination was minimal; the witness didnâ€™t know whether or not Ed had a concealed weapon permit and agreed with the defense attorney that no gun charges had been filed regarding the 2006 arrest.
Witness Ken Erickson
Mr. Erickson has been an Explosives Enforcement Officer with the ATF since 2001. Prior to that, he worked for the US Army for 18 years, with 12 of those years in explosives. Heâ€™s traveled to more than 200 bomb scenes with the ATF, most of them â€œpost-blast,â€ where his job is to assess the risk of the situation, and safely collect and dispose of any explosives.
Ok. Who am I kidding? This is Chuck Norris weâ€™re talking about here. Or at least Mr. Erickson used to be Chuck Norris, back when Chuck Norris was cool. You know, back before Chuck started stumping to become President of Texas in places like Glenn Beckâ€™s show and Wing Nut Daily.
Well, since Chuck Norris is so last year, and since Mr. Erickson has the coolest job ever, itâ€™s time for a rename. Malboro Man has a nice ring to itâ€¦
Malbo got the call that the Browns had been arrested on the evening of October 24th, and the next day he packed his van and drove 10 hours to the New Hampshire home to do his bomb thang.
Much of his testimony so far has been a duplicate of what we heard (and you read about here, of courseâ€¦) during the 2008 supporter trial â€“ 21 pipe bombs, lots of big guns, trip wires in the tree line, and can after can of gun powder with a fuse on top, covered with deadly strips of roofing nails.
It is a blast to listen to this guy testify. Heâ€™s an obviously well-qualified witness, he stays on topic, he clearly describes what he saw and did, and heâ€™s dealing with a subject matter that is fascinating to everyone in the courtroom.
So far his testimony has included the same walk-through video played in the first trial and the introduction of the pipe bombs (or whatâ€™s left of some of them) into evidence. If you want to experience the full force of what the jury is seeing and hearing, you can read my summary of the earlier testimony here.
What strikes me most about his testimony this time is the lovely use of understated jargon. When Malbo says something like â€œif there is an energetic event in the house,â€ all I hear is â€œif something big goes boom.â€
Red Crayons Translation
|Explosives are â€œrendered safeâ€||They took deadly bombs apart.|
|â€œDisruptionâ€||Little boom to prevent bigger boom.|
|â€œThe homeâ€™s sub-basementâ€||The crazy guyâ€™s bunker|
|â€œmitigate the riskâ€||Stay alive, with all the important bits intact|
|â€œitâ€™s a dynamic approachâ€||We blow something up|
|â€œthe round is made for large gameâ€||Very uncool ammo, considering the situation|
You get the idea.
Some new observations from the testimony this time:
- Ed had purchased some very interesting, very expensive, and very disturbing equipment: night vision goggles, infrared spotlights, military grade ballistic vests, chemical protection masks, ballistic helmets, parachute flares, smoke grenades, tear gas canisters, body armor, and much more. According to the physical evidence still piled up on the carts in the courtroom, thereâ€™s much more to come.
- If you look at my bedside nightstand, youâ€™ll find books, a chapstick, a box of Kleenex, a mangled and pathetically abused alarm clock, a couple of pens, a highlighter, cat treats, and stuff from my pockets. When you look at Ed and Elaineâ€™s bedside table, you find none of those things. Instead, youâ€™ll see a shotgun, flashlights, ammunition, cash in a baggie, emergency air supply, a knife, military bags, night vision goggles, and chemical protection masks. I guess Elaine doesnâ€™t get chapped lips.
Favorite quotes so far today:
Prosecutor: What is the item to the left in the changing room?
Bomb Guy: I believe itâ€™s a hyperbaric chamber?
Prosecutor: Do you know what that is?
Bomb Guy: [wrinkles brow and frowns] Not for certain.
Prosecutor: Did you make note of the bedding in the room?
Bomb Guy: If it didnâ€™t have explosive tendencies, we didnâ€™t look at it.
Malboro Man will be returning to the stand with much more tomorrow. Cool.