Saturday, May 25, 2013
Speeches Led FBI to Cox, Fairbanks Militia
It was Schaeffer Cox’s speeches in the Lower 48 that led the FBI to begin investigating him, according to a document filed in federal court Friday.
FAIRBANKS — It was Schaeffer Cox’s speeches in the Lower 48 that led the FBI to begin investigating him, according to a document filed in federal court Friday.
Cox’s attorney, Nelson Traverso, is asking the federal government to disclose exactly which speeches led to the investigation that culminated in Cox’s March 10 arrest on charges including conspiracy to commit murder.
In his brief, Traverso quotes FBI Special Agent Richard Sutherland telling Cox upon his arrest that the FBI had been watching him. Specifically, Sutherland tells Cox that people who saw his speeches in the Lower 48 (he mentions Montana in particular) believed he supported “violence or overthrow against the government” and submitted recordings of the speeches to the FBI.
Sutherland goes onto say the case got passed along to the Anchorage FBI office where “the FBI’s position was, we can look at this to see if this is all First Amendment and Second Amendment protected activity, and if it is, we don’t have a dog in the fight.”
The FBI ended up sending at least two confidential informants to investigate Cox and his Alaska Peacemaker’s Militia. The investigation concluded Cox and four of his associates had illegal weapons and were planning to kill law enforcement and court officials. In the process, investigators accumulated more than 100 hours of secret recording and thousands of pages of written materials that have been turned over to defense attorneys, but none so far explain exactly which Cox speech triggered the investigation, Traverso said.
Traverso also asked the court to disclose what FBI informant Gerald “JR” Olson said about Cox to a federal grand jury, saying he anticipates Olson’s credibility will be “one of several major issues in this case.” At the time he began working for the FBI, Olson was facing felony charges for fraudulent business practices in the Palmer area. In part for his help investigating Cox, he received a sentence without any jail time last month.