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The government’s new definition of terrorism: exercising constitutional rights. While our tradition applauds those who stand up and exercise their constitutional rights, the government’s new definition of terrorism condemns such patriotic actions, as a young Alaskan from Fairbanks named Schaeffer Cox has unfortunately learned.
Schaeffer Cox came to the attention of the government’s Sovereign Citizen Task Force circa 2010 at the ripe old age of 26 as he was traveling about the country speaking about the dangerous path of destruction that the federal government has been following for far too long. Schaeffer was advocating a return to a constitutional form of government and encouraging people to prepare for the disaster that will occur if we do not do so. At that time, Schaeffer had thrice climbed Mt. McKinley and had already achieved renown for establishing the Second Amendment Task Force in Fairbanks and other Alaskan locales, and for creating the Liberty Bell, a network of concerned citizens who, upon being called, come to the scene to observe and record police encounters. Schaeffer also had a budding political career, receiving nearly 40 percent of the vote running against an incumbent in the Republican primary for the Alaska House of Representatives.
The government’s response to all of this was to employ two despicable agents provocateur — crime creators — in efforts to intimidate, coerce, and otherwise pressure Schaeffer into “committing” a crime for which the government could then prosecute him into silence.
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The first agent provocateur was Bill Fulton, an alcoholic prone to violent and otherwise-threatening outbursts, and who is perhaps more well known for torpedoing Joe Miller’s 2010 United States Senate campaign by handcuffing a local Anchorage reporter, all the while working as a federal agent. The second such crime creator was Gerald “J.R.” Olson, a con man, sociopath, and convicted felon who was facing multiple new felony charges for taking many tens of thousands of dollars from the elderly and others under the guise of installing non-existent septic systems.
For his part, Fulton openly strove to cause Schaeffer to engage in or commit violence against the government. Fulton went so far as to place a knife to one of Schaeffer’s friend’s throats when Schaeffer emphatically rejected Fulton’s path. When all was said and done, the government paid Fulton via a compensation package worth well into the six-figure range.
Olson’s deceit was more subtle. He infiltrated Schaeffer’s small militia group and concocted a plan to kill two for every one of the militia members who went down. Schaeffer steadfastly rejected Olson’s plan; and on February 19, 2011, Schaeffer announced that he and his family were immediately leaving Fairbanks for the Lower 48. A desperate Olson promptly stole Schaeffer’s car battery and then kept a completely fatigued Schaeffer in Fairbanks with repeated false promises of a non-existent trucker who was on his way to Alaska and would transport Schaeffer and his family to the Lower 48. When all was said and done, Olson walked away from all his criminal charges, stole thousands of dollars of Schaeffer’s gold, and was asking to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government.
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In early March of 2011, the government culminated its con via Olson by attempting to place in Schaeffer’s hands an illegal weapon as approximately 100 armed federal agents surrounded him. Who knows what would have happened had the property owner not fortuitously walked up to the vehicle in which Schaeffer was and asked what was going on and why all those armed agents were on his property.
Schaeffer was nonetheless charged with low-level federal weapons violations; and he and several others were simultaneously charged in the Alaska State courts with numerous other charges, including a conspiracy to kill a judicial officer. In October of 2011, as his counsel in the State courts, I succeeded in having all the State charges dismissed.
The government’s response was to up the ante in federal court, first adding more weapons charges and — when Schaeffer would not plead guilty to the added charges — then adding much more serious charges alleging purported plans to kill federal agents. All the charges were filed not in Fairbanks, where the events were alleged to have occurred and where people know the real Schaeffer Cox, but in Anchorage (350 miles away.) Schaeffer was forced to go to trial in Anchorage in May and June of 2012 and was convicted of not only weapons-possession charges, but also of a charge of conspiracy to murder an unknown and unnamed federal agent. In early 2013, Schaeffer was sentenced to serve 26 years.
Ordinarily, Schaeffer would have been sent to the federal facility near Portland, Oregon, where many if not most Alaskans serve federal time–and where Schaeffer’s wife Marti has family and would have moved with their two young children. Instead, the government shipped Schaeffer to its Communications Management Unit (CMU) in Marion, Illinois. At that CMU are housed numerous persons whom the government has branded as terrorists.
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Schaeffer is presently in the midst of appealing his case. Unfortunately, he has been assigned a federally-appointed attorney, Suzanne Elliott of Seattle, who is not merely unsympathetic toward Schaeffer’s case, but openly hostile and antagonistic — an anti-gun, liberal elitist in charge of representing a salt-of-the-earth Second Amendment advocate. Despite Schaeffer’s repeated requests to Ms. Elliott to withdraw, she has refused to do so and has publicly announced her opinion that he is delusional and is even seeking to have Schaeffer’s appeal stayed while he is forced to undergo a psychiatric examination.
Schaeffer is in dire straits and is seeking financial support to hire me to represent him in his federal appeal. As an experienced appellate advocate who has set a number of important precedents in protecting constitutional rights, I believe we have a strong case.
I have previously summarized Schaeffer’s case and its importance as follows: “As an experienced appellate attorney, I have every reason to believe that there will be a most positive outcome in Schaeffer Cox’s appeal — if the best issues are raised. From the work I did in assisting Schaeffer’s federal trial attorney with motions and jury instructions, I sincerely believe that there are serious issues commencing with the outrageous conduct of the government and its informants in threatening, intimidating, stealing from, and ultimately holding hostage an obviously-drained-and-exhausted Schaeffer in Fairbanks via a coercive ruse. I equally believe that there are issues with the way the jury was instructed as to the most-serious charges, allowing for Schaeffer to be convicted of a non-existent conspiracy, one that was a malicious figment of the government’s desire to punish a person who dared to speak up and point out the dangerous direction the U.S. is veering under an utter lack of responsible leadership.
“Furthermore, at trial, Schaeffer was shackled as the judge not only prevented the jury from being instructed on Schaeffer’s defenses to one or more of the weapons charges but also deprived Schaeffer of his constitutional right to testify fully in his own behalf. Then the case was tilted further for the government by suppressing the government’s own recordings that would have placed matters in their true context and would have allowed the jury to properly understand Schaeffer’s state of mind as the government was working its impermissible ploy to create a crime and a criminal where none existed.
“This case is by far the worst travesty of justice I have encountered in my 25-year legal career. An inspirational and truly-gifted young man with so much to offer is wrongfully imprisoned — leaving his lovely wife to raise, for three years now, what were a month-old daughter and a two-year-old son. From the broader perspective, the precedent of government repression that Schaeffer’s case presents is an atrocity whose kin can be found somewhat in the police tactics employed in our country in the 1960s and 70s, but more closely in the repressive regimes that controlled much of Europe and Asia during large parts of the 20th Century. This we must all strive to reverse. To prevail in Schaeffer’s appeal will be a good step, and perhaps a giant leap, in the right direction.”
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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.