Florida Common Law Court
Note the simplicity of the press in their presentation. Each paragraph constitutes one sentence. Below eighth grade reading, for the masses, and trial by press, which has become so common. OPF
The Orlando Sentinel, Wednesday, June 25, 1997
TAMPA—A Winter Garden man, frustrated at his group"s failed attempts to shut down the federal court system, said at a meeting the solution was to kidnap an Orlando federal judge.
"If you have 10 or 12 people armed ... I believe you could go in [the courthouse], arrest the judge and take him out in handcuffs," Richard "Toby" Brown said on a surveillance tape played in federal court Tuesday.
Brown, 54, is one of eight people being tried on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice by threatening jurors and accusing prosecutors and judges of treason.
Laurent Moore, 51, and Jack Warren, 47, both of Orlando, and Charles Dunnigan, 46, of Clermont also are on trial.
The group set up a self-styled Constitutional Common Law Court in Orlando and Tampa and insists its courts, not the government"s, represent the law of the land.
The group became angry at Orlando officials after they began cracking down on the anti-government movement, charging Moore, Warren and a third man with mail fraud and obstructing justice.
Tapes of meetings in 1995 and 1996 have been played to jurors during the past three days. The recordings were made by Robert Quigley, an Internal Revenue Service inspector who pretended to be a member of the group for several months.
At one meeting at Orange Avenue and Hoffner Road in Orlando in December 1995, Brown had 40 members of the Brevard County militia stand guard outside, according to the surveillance tape.
The initial purpose of that December meeting was to try law enforcement officers, judges and jurors for treason for prosecuting members of the group, according to the tape.
But the group decided not to hold the trial because federal agents recently had seized documents charging the officials with treason. Members have said on the tape that the penalty for treason is death.
The defense is expected to begin cross-examining Quigley this afternoon. U.S. marshals are guarding the trial closely.
Defense lawyers say their clients were just talking tough on the tapes, never did anything to carry out their threats and that their client"s speech is protected by the First Amendment.
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