In the Department of Justice press release issued March 18 on the conclusion of this trial, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, Anne M. Tompkins, said, “Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism. While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country.”The libertarian world was quick to label the prosecution malicious [one example], but the New York Sun is getting partially on board. Although explicitly not suggesting von NotHaus was wrongfully convicted, the editor remonstrated the prosecutor's crowing.
Von NotHaus was charged and convicted for the act of issuing silver and gold private barter currency which listed a face value on them. At the times they were issued, the pieces were stamped with a value and traded at prices above the intrinsic metal value.
During the trial, the prosecution’s witnesses admitted that the pieces were of full weight and purity as stated on the pieces, which is why there were no charges for fraudulent description of the merchandise being bartered....
I heard of Liberty Dollars a long while ago, when silver was between six and seven dollars an ounce. Back then, one ounce of silver backed ten Liberty Dollars. I shied aways from the company because I saw it as a disguised silver seller and I thought the markup was too high. [I have to admit that I didn't think through and buy silver on my own.] von NotHaus managed to put together a rather large Amway-style sales force, and there are lots of people who would be inclined to say he was rooked. He got cracked down on at about the time the Ron Paul Liberty Dollar coins were introduced. He being charged made them instant collector's items.
Advocates of the gold standard just may have their jailed victim. Granted that von NotHaus doesn't have the kind of charisma a George Jackson (the "Soledad Brother") had, but there's more than a few people inclined to beleive that his prosecution was merely the act of a vindictive government. Ask a Ron Paul supporter what (s)he thinks about the timing of the charges.
As for Mr. von NotHaus, the judge isn't likely to go easy on him.