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July 12, 2024

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Thursday, August 3, 2023

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Friday, January 28, 2022

Milita Trial – Prosecution Rests & Motions Heard

My plan was to just play catch up with the notes and testimony I’ve already heard, but today was just too exciting not to want to get this out to you in a timely way. So that means I have a couple witnesses for the prosecution still waiting to be reported on, but they will have to find a comfortable place somewhere in the series of tubes to hang out for a while. Today, court started half an hour early. I, alas, did not. Motions are being heard as I walk into the courtroom. Nelson Traverso for Schaeffer Cox, and…

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Militia Trial: The Tale Of The Tape

After having been in court for a couple weeks, I’ve had the occasion to meet many people associated with the trial, and they have been kind enough to share their observations with me regarding times I’ve missed. I learned several things I’m going to share, but first off, guess how militia leader Schaeffer Cox first met FBI informant JR Olson? You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you. It was at a political fundraiser for… wait for it… Rep. Tammie Wilson of North Pole. Small state. I am in court for the second day that JR Olson is on the stand…

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Militia Trial: FBI Informant Testifies

What an interesting day in court, in which we find out that one Mr. Bill Fulton, (now disappeared, and formerly of the Drop Zone military surplus store) has one giant potty mouth. I’m guessing his mother wasn’t an “open up, here’s the bar of soap” kinda gal.  Monday’s only witness for the afternoon session was JR Olson, one of two FBI informants in the case, and someone whose testimony I’ve been eagerly awaiting. He is “an unsavory character with a checkered past” as my grandmother would say. You might even call him a “ne’er do well.” And in exchange for…

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Militia Trial: Armed Guards & Being Followed

Witness Victoria Thompson enters the court room wearing a long bright red cable-knit cardigan sweater. She is the News director for KJNP radio/TV in North Pole and she says she lives “on the KJNP compound.” KJNP stands for ‘King Jesus North Pole.’ The radio station has a gospel music format. She seems unhappy to be here. She doesn’t turn her head to face the prosecutor, but looks sideways while facing straight ahead. She is 72 years old and has been “in the news business” since she was 15. The prosecutor asks her if her allergies are bothering her. She says…

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Militia Trial: Insider Witness Surprises

Michael Orion Anderson is on the stand when I arrive in court at the 2-4-1 Militia Trial, also known as the US vs. Scheaffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon. Anderson is the “insider” that the prosecution promised to produce for the jury in their opening statement. But what we learn from Anderson doesn’t quite live up to the previews. It’s not that his testimony isn’t dramatic or compelling. It’s that and more – a desperate suicide attempt in prison, destroying a hard drive with a hammer, a first person account of an enraged FBI informant threatening to slit the…

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Militia Trial: Day 5 – Toilet Paper, Green Beans, and a Call for Mistrial

I walked in to the trial already in progress this morning. We’re now seeing evidence obtained from the search of defendant Lonnie Vernon’s house and truck. There was a lot of wrangling going on about what evidence to admit or not, before the jury came in. There are documents in question and MJ Hayden, Lonnie Vernon’s attorney is saying that they are more “prejudice than probative.” It sounds like they are more pictures of firearms and the have notes written on them, but there is no indication that he wrote the notes or saw them. The prosecution cites case law…

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Militia Trial: Day 4 – The Handbook

Due to the fact that Judge Bryan will be flying out on Thursday evenings to take care of business back home in Washington state on Fridays, we had a few days off from the trial. Here’s a brief recap of the portion of the trial that happened after I left Wednesday, to catch you up to speed for my post below from Thursday morning. Cox, the 28-year-old leader of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia and an ideological force in the Alaska “sovereign citizen” movement, once rescinded a guilty plea to a 2010 reckless endangerment charge by filing a notice to the…

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Militia Trial – The Book of Armaments, Chapter Three

I rushed in to the court house on Day 3 of the trial of Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney, and Lonnie Vernon, and did the security drill. I passed the first checkpoint, but the second screening caused the security man to say, “Do you have any batteries in there?” Asking me if I have any batteries in my bag is like asking me if there’s a loose button in my house. I’m sure there must be, but I cannot verify it for sure, or tell you exactly where it is… And so the rifling through my giant saddle bag began –…

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Militia Trial – Day 2, Opening Arguments!

For background, click HERE. For Day 1, click HERE. By inexplicable popular demand, my eerily lifelike courtroom sketching is back. Right out of the box this morning we had an interesting motion from Nelson Traverso, Schaeffer Cox’s attorney. Dogs, he says, are “prejudicial.” Just as hauling defendants into the courtroom in leg irons, or handcuffs when jurors are present can slant a juror’s opinion, so do the explosive-sniffing dogs in the lobby, he argued. We don’t want the jurors to think the defendants “have outside connections to the world of terrorism.” He made sure to tell the judge that he…

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Schaeffer Cox Trial – Day 2, Opening Arguments!

For background, click HERE. For Day 1, click HERE. By inexplicable popular demand, my eerily lifelike courtroom sketching is back. Right out of the box this morning we had an interesting motion from Nelson Traverso, Schaeffer Cox’s attorney. Dogs, he says, are “prejudicial.” Just as hauling defendants into the courtroom in leg irons, or handcuffs when jurors are present can slant a juror’s opinion, so do the explosive-sniffing dogs in the lobby, he argued. We don’t want the jurors to think the defendants “have outside connections to the world of terrorism.” He made sure to tell the judge that he…

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