Closing arguments begin in Alaska militia trial

ANCHORAGE — The attorney for a Fairbanks militia leader accused of conspiring to kill federal law enforcement officers says his client’s comments could be offensive and distasteful but are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Nelson Traverso says that nowhere in secret government recordings was Schaeffer Cox heard giving an order to mobilize, issue weapons or attack anyone.

Traverso on Wednesday gave his final argument in the case against Cox and fellow militia members Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Skrocki (skr-ROCK-ee) says Cox and his companions were working on establishing another form of government.

He says they didn’t act only because they didn’t feel they were strong enough.

Prosecutors on Thursday will have the chance to rebut defense attorney arguments before the case goes to the jury.

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