FAIRBANKS — Court documents indicate that it was Schaeffer Cox’s speeches in the Lower 48 that got the FBI’s attention and led to an investigation of the man charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Cox’s attorney, Nelson Traverso, wants to know more. He wants the court to reveal exactly which speeches the FBI is referring to in the court document, according to Tuesday’s Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
In his brief, Traverso quotes FBI Special Agent Richard Sutherland telling Cox upon his arrest in March that the FBI had been watching him. Specifically, Sutherland tells Cox that people who saw his speeches in the Lower 48 and believed he supported “violence or overthrow against the government” and submitted recordings of the speeches to the FBI.
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.
Cox and several others associated with the Peacemakers Militia have pleaded not guilty. They have been in jail since their March 10 arrest.
Traverso also wants to know what FBI informant Gerald “JR” Olson said about Cox to a federal grand jury. Traverso said 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 in a separate case about a septic tank.
Investigators say Cox was an advocate of the “241” retaliation plan, which stood for “two-for-one” — killing or kidnapping two state officials for every member of his group that was killed or arrested.
The plan arose after Cox was charged with misdemeanor weapons misconduct. He represented himself at a pretrial hearing where he denied that the Alaska court system was a legitimate judiciary. He said he would not attend another court hearing until the court system explained its authority over him.
A warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to appear for trial Feb. 14.
Prosecutors said Cox had multiple meetings with the command staff of the Peacekeepers Militia in the weeks before his scheduled trial. An investigator said Cox and others compiled information on potential targets and acquired weapons.