Federal officials say they first set their sights on Alaska militia leader Schaeffer Cox after a series of speeches he gave describing his plan to overthrow the government using a 3500-member militia, and weapons like bombs, lasers and and “all sorts of nifty stuff.”
Alaska Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Skrocki filed a brief Friday that included excerpts of speeches Cox reportedly gave in Montana and Colorado as early as 2009 — speeches that drew the attention of the FBI because they talked of violently overthrowing the government and may have crossed the line “between First Amendment protected speech, and conduct which is actionable.”
Cox was first put on a watch list on February 16, 2010, about a year before he and four other members of his Alaska Peacemakers Militia were arrested for allegedly stockpiling weapons and plotting to kill a federal judge and Alaska State Troopers.
Though the full speeches are still sealed, the documents include an excerpt from a speech Cox gave in Montana, in which he reportedly described selling people into slavery as a possible outcome of the “common-law court” system that would take the place of the current justice system.
According to the documents, Cox answered a question about “capital murder or a capital crime” cases and common-law trials, saying “I don’t think we can deal with those until our current system is very, very decrepit, but common law jurisprudence says that in the case of murder that person has forfeited their right, and at that point the victim can choose.”
He continued that in those cases “if the pain they went through is so horrible if they want to spare other people the pain by deterring others, by putting that person to death, that’s up to the victim or the victim’s family. They can do that, and that person can be hung; or they can sell that person into slavery for the rest of their life. That person is owned by the person they violated, and they can sell him or they can kill him.”
The idea of “common-law trials” is a theme among so-called “sovereign citizens,” who believe that all government institutions are illegitimate. Many conduct their own trials in response to confrontations with law enforcement, and often find officials guilty of “crimes” through these trials.
Cox himself held would eventually put himself on trial in a common-law court in the back room of an Alaska Denny’s, after he received a misdemeanor weapons charge for failing to notify a police officer that he was carrying a concealed weapon. Cox, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, called the state court system a “for-profit corporation,” and skipped out on his February court date before he was eventually picked up in the larger FBI operation in March.
In the aforementioned speech, Cox reportedly claimed that he had 3500 people in his militia, along with various weaponry and personnel. “It is not a rag-tag deal,” he said.
I mean, we’re set: we’ve got a medical unit that’s got surgeons and doctors and medical trucks and mobile surgery units and stuff like that. We’ve got engineers that make GPS jammers, cell phone jammers, bombs, and all sorts of nifty stuff. We’ve got guys with, we’ve got airplanes with laser acquisition stuff and we’ve got rocket launchers and grenade launchers and claymores and machine guns and calvary and we’ve got boats. It’s all set.
According to court documents, Cox didn’t have nearly this kind of fire-power, and was charged with allegedly possessing and stockpiling inert hand grenades, an automatic machine gun, tear gas and rubber bullet grenades, and semiautomatic guns.
The documents also reference a speech Cox gave called “The Solution,” in which he says: “I would kill for liberty. You know everybody asks ‘would you die for liberty?’ That’s not really the right question to ask. The right question to ask is: ‘Would you kill for liberty?’”
Here’s an clip. The full speech is here:
The filing was in response to a request by Cox’s attorney, Nelson Traverso, for more information on how federal authorities began their investigation. “The discovery thus far provided does not provide any explanation of what statements were made by Mr. Cox in his speeches that violated criminal laws, where they took place, when they were delivered, and the circumstances in which they were made,” Traverso said earlier this month.
Full coverage of the Cox story here.
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