Lawyer says militia man didn't plot government overthrow

SCHAEFFER COX: First Amendment rights at heart of case.

Associated PressNovember 16, 2011 

A court document filed by the lawyer for militia leader Schaeffer Cox said his client was not plotting to overthrow the federal government and actually reported on others who tried to instigate a conflict, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday.

Attorney Nelson Traverso wants the U.S. District Court in Anchorage to dismiss federal charges against Cox for allegedly having illegal weapons.

A document filed Monday is the most detailed account from the defense's perspective of the events leading up to Cox's arrest and four others.

The group was accused in state court of making a plan to kill Alaska State Troopers and court officials. But these charges were dropped by the Alaska attorney general's office last month because of illegally obtained evidence.

Federal charges remain in the case.

Traverso argues Cox's speeches about the downfall of the government did not merit an FBI investigation because Cox explicitly said multiple times that he did not want to bring down the government himself.

In speeches and recorded conversations, Cox calls the U.S. government a "wounded bear" and said the militia should not try to make it "die faster," Traverso said.

This type of speech should be protected by the First Amendment, he said in documents reported by the Daily News-Miner.

Accompanying the filing is an affidavit signed Monday by Cox that swears to 27 facts related to the case. Among them, Cox asserts that FBI informants tried to get him to make a plan to fight the government in August 2010.

Cox said he told them that his militia's policy is to "defend all (and) aggress none."

Cox said he later went to the U.S. Attorney's office in Fairbanks and said two men were trying to do "something stupid.

"I tried to convey to him that these guys wanted to attack the government and that this was inconsistent with our philosophy," Cox said in the affidavit.

He said he did not give the names of the two men for fear of retribution.

Prosecutors said Cox came up with a plan to kidnap two law enforcement officers or court officials for every militia member arrested and to kill two for every militia member killed in any ensuing struggle. At the time, Cox was scheduled to face a state trial on a misdemeanor weapons charge that has since been dismissed.

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