Militia Leader Targeted by FBI is out of Prison, Still Fighting Conviction

by | Dec 18, 2023

Militia Leader Targeted by FBI is out of Prison, Still Fighting Conviction

by | Dec 18, 2023

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Schaeffer Cox. Photo Credit: freeshaeffer.com

About a decade before the FBI infiltrated Midwest militias and fomented a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the bureau targeted Alaska’s militias as part of an apparent attempt to disrupt what was once a thriving Tea Party movement in that state.

The FBI’s main target in Alaska was militia leader Shaeffer Cox, a liberty activist who was making waves in mainstream politics at the time—as evidenced by the fact that the upstart won 37% of the vote in a Republican primary for Congress in 2010.

Using at least two undercover informants, the FBI concocted a case that Cox had plotted to assassinate federal agents.

Cox beat the charges in state court after an Alaska judge wouldn’t allow the FBI recordings made without a warrant, but the Justice Department then went after him in federal court, where he was eventually found guilty.

Much of Cox’s sentence was served in the hellish Communications Management Unit at the Terre Haute correctional facility, which is often used to house political prisoners. Initially sentenced to nearly 26 years imprisonment in 2013, Cox had 10 years knocked off in 2019, after an appeals court agreed that the federal agents he supposedly plotted to kill didn’t actually exist.

Now, Cox is out of prison. He recently announced on his personal website that he was suddenly sent to a halfway house shortly after he filed another appeal against his conviction.

“The morning they let me go, a guard came to my cell, told me to pack up, shook my hand, told me he knows I’m innocent, then wished me luck in building a new life and walked me out the door,” Cox said.

“Just like that—in 5 minutes—I was standing on the curb outside the prison waiting for a taxi to the airport.”

Cox said he’s now looking for a job so he can pay off his mountainous legal fees. He’s also dealing with PTSD and the overwhelming feeling of the world having passed him by.

One of the biggest changes—for the better—he’s seen is that many people now finally realize what he was talking about more than a decade ago: “One thing I have noticed is that after what was done to Trump, everyone knows the FBI and DOJ are totally corrupt,” he said.

“When people ask why I was in prison, all I have to say is ‘Russian collusion type case’ and they instantly know what was done to me. Perhaps it’s a reason for optimism.”

Meanwhile, Cox continues to appeal his conviction.

In a brief filed Wednesday, he argued that the appeals court was correct in overturning the charge of solicitation to murder federal agents, since those agents didn’t actually exist. But the appeals court should have also vacated the conspiracy charge against him for the same reason, he said, seeking a new trial for the conspiracy charge.

“The supposed “federal employee” targets in the solicitation count…did not qualify as federal “officer[s] or employee[s]” under the relevant test because they did not in fact exist. Cox also argued that he did not agree with (or ask anyone) to commit murder because the plan was only to provide self-defense at the KJNP television station against a supposed team of federal assassins bent on murdering Cox,” the brief said, explaining Cox’s arguments.

“This Court agreed with these arguments about the KJNP theory and accordingly vacated the solicitation count. [But] the panel said nothing about the effect of this holding on the conspiracy count, even though the government had relied primarily on that same factual theory.”

DOJ prosecutors have until January 12 to respond to Cox’s brief.

This article was originally featured at Headline USA and is republished with permission.

About Ken Silva

Ken Silva has been a reporter for more than 10 years, working in places such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the United States. His favorite writers include Annie Jacobsen and Wendy Painting, and he thinks Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State, and Utopia" is highly underrated among libertarians today.

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