The Facts: Edward Kotmair's Trial and Conviction

By John B. Kotmair, Jr.
SAPF founder and fiduciary, and Ed Kotmair's father.

To all whom it may concern: We would rather keep my son’s business private, but because of circumstances beyond our control, the non-factual ludicrous reports posted on the Internet and otherwise rumored, we are now forced to set the record straight.

Right after the Justice Department’s “tax time” press release regarding Edward’s conviction, the Fellowship started receiving e-mails about postings on the Internet making ridiculous nonsensical statements about the facts of the case and the Fellowship’s participation. We also received letters from a few members inquiring about the allegations. (One of the members actually told us that our answer would determine whether he was going to renew his membership or not!) It was hard for us to believe that a member of the Fellowship could be so politically naive and ignorant about law, facts, procedure and the tyrannical conduct of the federal courts.

The most ridiculous of the allegations was: “How could the Fellowship help any Patriot if I can’t keep my own son out of jail?” A question such as this from a member can make one wonder “why bother?” But the alternative to not bothering is unthinkable.


The federal grand jury in North Carolina did not bring an indictment against Edward but that did not stop the Assistant U.S. Attorney, David Cortes. In 1997 Cortes filed an Information against Edward for three counts of failure to file 26 USC § 7203 under the name of another attorney within the U.S. Attorney’s office. If my memory serves me, this filing of the Information was publicized about the time of the annual income tax "filing deadline," as they usually do.

At that time Edward was living in Maryland and was notified about it by acquaintances in North Carolina after it was published in the local news media. He did not run and hide, or alter his life style in any way.

A couple of weeks afterwards it was announced that members of the Fellowship were embarking on establishing a talk show radio network, Liberty Works Radio Network. In April of 1998, Edward was picked up going into a convenience store by the same IRS Special Agent, Michael O’Hanlon, who was in charge of the raid on the Fellowship Headquarters and my home on December the 10th, 1993. During the drive to Baltimore, O’Hanlon asked Edward about the radio effort, and Edward answered by asking O’Hanlon if he had heard about “the shot that was heard ‘round the world.” O’Hanlon responded that he had and Edward told him that the LWRN programming would be heard as far away as Japan. At that time that was not exactly correct, but ultimately through LWRN’s Internet site, it was heard around the world, and from time to time we received correspondence proving that to be the case.

When the judge in the federal district court in Baltimore made it known that she planned to release Edward on his own recognizance, the local Assistant U.S. Attorney telephone conferenced Cortes into the Courtroom and he tried to convince the judge to intern Edward. When it appeared that he could not persuade her on the merits, he said to her, “Do you know who his father is?!?” She responded that it does not matter who his father is. To that he stated, “His father is John Kotmair!” She responded that had nothing to do with the proceedings at hand, and released Edward on his own recognizance.

After the bail hearing, Edward's court-ordered release was violated twice by Cortes, and Edward has since been incarcerated about a year and nine months.

Edward did not have the financial wherewithal to hire a defense attorney and neither did I. Any money that I could get my hands on, logically, had to go to the financial support of getting LWRN off the ground. We were both of the attitude that the movement was far more important than the prospect of him being incarcerated for a few years. Wherefore, the federal court in North Carolina appointed a public defender, one Steve Gordon.

From the beginning Gordon threatened that if I was going to testify about the knowledge I had regarding the federal tax code he would not call me. Edward insisted that I should be a defense witness, and Gordon reluctantly agreed.

Before the trial Edward filed a Habeas Corpus moving to dismiss the Information because of violation of the Speedy Trial Act. When informed of the Habeas Corpus Gordon wrote me and threatened to charge me with practicing law without a license. I did not even bother to answer such a ridiculous threat. There were no documents filed containing my signature, just Edward’s. The trial judge, Terrence Boyle, was named as the respondent because of his having custody of Edward’s person.

Because Edward’s defense attorney Gordon did not move the court the morning of the first day of the trial to dismiss the information because of the alleged violation of the Speedy Trail Act, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Skiver filed a motion to dismiss the Habeas Corpus on behalf of Boyle. The judge, Malcolm Howard, assigned to hear Habeas Corpus action denied Skiver’s motion, stating that the complaint was filed within the prescribed time before the trial.

Skiver then filed a motion to move the Habeas Corpus action to Boyle for handling. The reason given was that Boyle was familiar with the case. Edward filed a motion in opposition arguing that Boyle was the respondent in the Habeas Corpus action and that would be the same as any defendant hearing and deciding his own case. This did not deter Howard who named the United States as the respondent and ordered the action to be moved to Boyle’s court. Edward filed a motion to reconsider, citing that the federal Tort Claims Act prevented the United States being the respondent. Not having an answer to this legal argument, Howard did not bother to respond — AND THE TYRANNY GOES ON.

Five months after the trial, February 17, 2000, Boyle ordered the United States to file an answer to the Habeas Corpus complaint within 20 days of the Order. Not receiving any answer, on June 26, 2000 Edward filed a motion requesting an enlargement of time and notified the court that the answer was not forthcoming. On July 6, 2000, Boyle ordered the enlargement of time and for Skiver to serve Edward with an answer. Edward just received the answer and we are in the process of preparing a response.


On August 30, 1999 Cortes filed a motion with the court to prevent me from testifying contending that I would confuse the jury on the federal tax laws.

A couple of weeks before the trial Gordon asked my wife and I to travel to Raleigh, North Carolina to go over our testimony. We spent the better part of the day with him doing so. My wife was to testify about Edward from a mother’s perspective, and I about the application of the law as expressed in the correspondence that I submitted to the IRS on behalf of Edward under the authority of his power-of-attorney.

On September 8, 1999, my wife and I were subpoenaed as witnesses and were in attendance for the trial. When it started, we were sequestered from the proceedings and spent the day hanging around in the hall just outside of the courtroom. This was very uncomfortable not having any place to sit other than some marble steps. The next morning I asked Gordon if we could stay at the motel room just a couple of miles away and he could call us when it was time for us to testify. He agreed and we did. About three o’clock that afternoon we received a call from our ex-daughter-in-law telling us that the trial was over. We immediately returned to the court believing that Boyle granted Cortes’ motion and prevented me from testifying. We were there for the jury instructions and heard Cortes telling the jury how I was the evil doer, causing individuals to violate the federal tax laws. I thought this was rather stupid, believing that this would raise the question in the juries mind, why isn’t he on trial? We heard Boyle make the remark that “Everyone knows you have to file returns, people line up at the Post Office every year to do so.” I again thought how that was also rather stupid, for what does that have to do with the law? Well, as it turned out, they knew exactly how to play this jury full of ignorant Americans and play it like a cheap accordion.

After the jury came back with the guilty verdict, the courtroom started to empty out except for one U.S. Marshall, Cortes and his assistants, Gordon and his assistants, and my wife and I. Cortes turned and started to walk in my direction saying that he wanted me to know that Steve Gordon did a good job on behalf of Edward. I sharply rebuked him saying, “you are afraid to face me.” He turned away saying “no I’m not.” I replied, “Then why did you prevent me from testifying?” He did not respond, and the U.S. Marshall asked me to leave the courtroom.

The whole time my wife and I were in the courtroom after our return from the motel, neither Gordon or any of his assistants either spoke to or looked at either of us. About three weeks after the trial, Edward found out that the Cortes’ motion to prevent me from testifying was never heard, and that Gordon, evidently acting in collusion with Cortes, intentionally did not call my wife or myself to testify. In other words, Gordon and Cortes worked together to make sure that Edward was convicted to give continued life to the big lie about the federal tax laws by the press releases of Edward’s conviction to try to keep the American sheeple in a state of ignorance and fear. That tactic has worked for these seditionists since World War II.

In the day and a half that it took to try Edward, my name and the Fellowship was brought up one hundred and seventy-nine times. From the bail hearing on it was very evident that Edward was just a tool to try to combat the great strides that are being accomplished here at the Fellowship.

For obvious reasons, ever since Edward was picked-up by O’Hanlon there has been a constant effort to get him to capitulate. He was continually offered plea bargains. Even during the trial the Marshals were telling him that if he plead guilty he could walk out of the courtroom a free man time served.

Before the trial he was placed in a county jail in North Carolina, and mysteriously the word was passed around the inmate population that he was a government informant. He wasn’t there a week before he was attacked having damage to his facial skeletal structure that required plastic surgery and left him with permanent nerve damage.

There are two required elements to be fulfilled in charging an individual under Title 26 § 7203, “Willful failure to file return, supply information or pay tax.” The first element is that a statute within Title 26, requiring the filing of a tax return, must be violated by that individual. The second element, Willfulness, is the main element that must be proven in a failure to file case.

The Information did not cite any statute other than § 7203.

At the sentence hearing Cortes charged Edward with perjury, contending that he lied on the witness stand when he said that he did not have a tax return filing requirement. Judge Boyle responded that is not so, that it was obvious that Edward believed what he was saying. Cortes reasoned with Boyle that willfulness was the government’s case and that is what the jury convicted Edward of. Boyle responded that Edward had not committed perjury and that the charge of perjury was not going to be entertained.

Federal law requires a jurist to set aside jury convictions if that jurist is convinced the evidence does not sustain a conviction. Edward’s argument on appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is that, based on the sentencing transcript, the law requires Judge Boyle to set aside the jury’s verdict and set Edward free.

He was finally interned in a medium maximum-security prison in Cumberland, Maryland, and has the distinction of being the only individual there convicted of a misdemeanor.

To all those Gurus that rushed to judgment, when the media expounded Cortes’ press releases, and flooded the Internet, e-mail and fax machines with such statements as: “How can Kotmair help any member of the Save-A-Patriot Fellowship if he can’t keep his own son out of jail?” I say to them, send me your magic wand that overcometh such treachery and all the Patriotic Community will be forever in your debt; for you have single handedly saved the Republic—GOD Bless You!! Large empty bells ring the loudest!

    John B. Kotmair, Jr.
    Fiduciary, Save-A-Patriot Fellowship
    (October, 2000)

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