Convicted two years ago of counterfeiting and other federal charges
associated with the Liberty Dollar, “monetary architect” Bernard von
NotHaus is now seeking a judgment of acquittal or a new trial.
Noell P. Tin, von NotHaus’ court-appointed attorney, filed 26
pages of court documents March 25 in U.S. District Court for the
Western District of North Carolina in Statesville, the same court in
which von NotHaus was convicted on March 18, 2011.
Von NotHaus has remained free on bond since his conviction
following an eight-day jury trial for making coins resembling and
similar to United States coins; of issuing, passing, selling and
possessing Liberty Dollar coins; of issuing and passing Liberty Dollar
coins intended for use as current money; and of conspiracy against the
Von NotHaus has been awaiting sentencing by U.S. District Court
Judge Richard L. Voorhees since the March 18, 2011, conviction.
Von NotHaus founded the National Organization for the Repeal of
the Federal Reserve Act, or NORFED, to create and circulate the
Liberty Dollar as a private voluntary barter currency. NORFED produced
its first Liberty Dollars in 1998.
NORFED was dissolved as an entity in December 2006 by von NotHaus,
with the business renamed Liberty Services.
Liberty Dollars were typically manufactured as .999 fine silver
rounds (some were composed of copper and some of gold) and as paper
warehouse receipts in denominations of $1, $5, $10 and $20. The paper
Liberty Dollars were backed by silver, and the silver rounds were
minted by the private Sunshine Mint in Idaho.
Von NotHaus has repeatedly emphasized that Liberty Dollars were
made to circulate as “private voluntary barter currency” and were not
intended to be mistaken for United States legal tender.
The federal government, acting on a complaint, saw things differently.
After an investigation, FBI and Secret Service agents on Nov. 14,
2007, raided Liberty Services’ headquarters in Evansville, Ind.,
seizing more than $7 million in bullion, computer records and
equipment used to manufacture Liberty Dollars. Dies, blanks, bullion
and records were also seized from the Sunshine Mint.
The fate of the seized materials still remains undecided.
Acquittal or new trial
According to the court documents Tin filed March 25, 2013, on von
NotHaus’ behalf, “if anything is clear from the evidence presented at
trial, it is that the last thing Mr. von NotHaus wanted was for
Liberty Dollars to be confused with coins issued by the United States government.”
“His intention — to protest the Federal Reserve system — has
always been plain,” according to the court documents. “The jury’s
verdict conflates a program created to function as an alternative to
the Federal Reserve system with one designed to deceive people into
believing it was the very thing Mr. von NotHaus was protesting in the
“Whatever one’s opinion about the merit of value-based currency,
the fact remains that the Liberty Dollar was not a counterfeit and was
not intended to function as such. The verdict is a perversion of the
counterfeiting statutes and should be set aside.”
Von NotHaus claims in court documents that throughout NORFED’s
existence, he was advised by legal counsel that the Liberty Dollar did
not violate federal statutes.
“He was also aware that representatives of the Federal Reserve,
the United States Mint, the United States Secret Service, and other
organizations had examined the Liberty Dollar and found that it was
not a counterfeit for United States currency,” according to the March
25, 2013, court documents.
It is also argued in the court documents that the Liberty Dollar
medallions presented to the jury that eventually convicted von NotHaus
“do not have what coins are statutorily required to have and do not
look like United States coins.”
“The name Mr. von NotHaus chose, NORFED, was chosen in order to
make it clear that the Liberty Dollar did not come from the United
States government,” according to court documents. “While the Liberty
Dollar did feature an image of Lady Liberty, it was an image that Mr.
NotHaus personally designed in 1992 for the 50th
anniversary of the Battle of Midway. That Liberty image was never used
on any coin issued by the U.S. Mint.”
Design elements of the Liberty Dollar also changed over the years
they were issued, with none of the changes suggesting a similarity to
U.S. coins, according to court documents.
Court documents can be found at www.gata.org/files/VonNotHausRetrialMotion-03-25-2013.pdf. ■