Alaska militia co-defendant released, returned to Fairbanks

GRAND JURY: Anderson's testimony secret, but feds expand original indictment.

Associated PressDecember 17, 2011 

FAIRBANKS -- An Alaska man picked up by FBI agents with a material witness warrant earlier this month has been released and returned to Fairbanks.

Michael Anderson was arrested with Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox and several other people last spring.

Anderson was a co-defendant with Cox and three others under a now-defunct state case that accused them of making a plan to kill Alaska State Troopers and court officials, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Anderson was freed in October when the state dismissed conspiracy charges against him.

In the state case, a judge ruled that evidence obtained by an FBI informant was not admissible in state court. All state charges were withdrawn, but Cox and three others remain jailed on federal charges, accused of owning and conspiring to own more illegal weapons.

Anderson does not face federal charges, but a judge ruled he should be held for a week on a material witness warrant to testify before a grand jury because a subpoena was insufficient.

The newspaper reported that a material witness warrant is a tool prosecutors sometimes use in an effort to compel someone to testify in a criminal case when the person is not cooperating with a subpoena.

A friend of Anderson's tells the newspaper Anderson told him he had been given court orders not to talk to anyone about what happened at grand jury until trial.

Joshua Bennett, a friend of Anderson's who saw his arrest earlier this month, said Anderson returned to Fairbanks on Tuesday night.

On Friday, the grand jury handed down a new indictment against Cox and two others.

The new indictment does not include any new charges but adds to three paragraphs of allegations submitted as evidence against the defendants. The new indictment alleges Cox was working on a plan to kill government workers earlier than previously alleged, as far back as fall 2009, well before the FBI sent informants to investigate Cox's militia in 2010.

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