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US says tax evaders' backer left trail

CONCORD, N.H. - A Vermont man charged with helping convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown evade authorities left a trail of evidence showing his allegiance, authorities said yesterday.

Robert Wolffe showed his devotion to the Browns and his wish for an armed showdown with authorities via blogs and e-mail, even e-mailing a manual on how to kill government officials to his wife at work, an employee in the Vermont division of the Federal Highway Administration, a prosecutor alleged.

Assistant US Attorney Arnold Huftalen also read from a blog with a supply list and instructions for sending packages to the Browns in care of Wolffe, an Army veteran.

The list, giving Wolffe's name and address, sought items ranging from cardboard to night vision goggles and camouflage clothing, but the "number one most important thing" is "people to come and make a stand to their death if necessary."

The Browns insist there is no law requiring payment of federal taxes. Ed Brown has said he will resort to an armed confrontation if authorities try to take him and his wife by force.

Regardless of their views on taxes, "the supporters of the Browns . . . have been energized by the desire to force the government into an armed confrontation," Huftalen said yesterday as he argued for Wolffe to be jailed until a November trial.

Wolffe decided midway through the hearing that he would not contest authorities' wish to keep him in custody.

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