FAIRBANKS — Former Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox is receiving help from a new lawyer who is a national figure famous for his lawsuits against the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations and who is also representing a writer under scrutiny in federal investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Larry Klayman, who founded the Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch organizations, traveled to Indiana to visit Cox on Friday at the Terre Haute penitentiary where Cox is incarcerated, said Bryan Christie, a Cox supporter in Fairbanks who said he spoke to Klayman about the meeting Friday.
Seattle public defender Michael Filipovic remains Cox’s lawyer for the direct appeal of the 26-year prison sentence imposed on Cox for the 2012 convictions on charges of owning illegal weapons and conspiring to murder federal officials — including specific employees of the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Cox is working with Klayman on a lawsuit over a Freedom of Information Act request for law enforcement records in his criminal case, according to the case docket.
Klayman didn’t return phone calls from the Daily News-Miner this week.
Klayman also represents the controversial political writer Jerome Corsi, whom Mueller has investigated as a link between the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump and the WikiLeaks website that published emails stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign. In another current case, Klayman represents former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore in a defamation case against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen related to Cohen’s TV show, “Who is America?”
In the Moore case, Klayman appears to mention his Cox case in a Nov. 28 court filing, in which Klayman asks for more time to file because he has several new “urgent” cases including “representation of a Christian client who is in federal lockup in the Federal Detention Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, and whose life has been threatened by Muslim inmates, who have already murdered another inmate.”
The killing of an inmate last month has caused worry about Cox’s safety among his supporters. The death has accelerated efforts to win his freedom through either the continuing appeal process or a pardon by President Donald Trump.
Media in Indiana report that Robert Neal, 68, of Texas, was found dead in his cell Nov. 10 at Terre Haute and that the county coroner ruled the death a homicide. Neal was serving a 27-year sentence for wire fraud.
State and federal law enforcement officers arrested Cox and four friends and supporters in March 2011 after a yearlong FBI investigation that infiltrated Cox’s social circle by two paid informants. In April 2012, a federal jury in Anchorage convicted him on charges including soliciting the murder of federal officials, conspiring to murder federal officials and weapons charges. In the appeal of his criminal conviction, Cox is scheduled to be resentenced in May because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed one of his convictions — that of soliciting the murder of federal officials.
Cox grew up in Fairbanks and entered public life when he was in his 20s as a political candidate and founder of numerous political organizations. Cox was a candidate for the Legislature in 2008 and won 38 percent of the vote in a Republican primary challenge against then-Rep. Mike Kelly. In the following years, Cox held large Fairbanks rallies in support of firearm ownership rights through his group the Second Amendment Task Force and also led a smaller armed group he described as a self-defense force called the Alaska Peacemakers Militia.
At a private courtroom he created at the Fairbanks Denny’s Restaurant and in court hearings at the Rabinowitz Courthouse, Cox used rhetoric commonly associated with the Sovereign Citizen movement to say he viewed the state court as an illegitimate power that didn’t have authority over him. In recent writings, Cox has said that he does not identify with the Sovereign Citizen label.
Contact Outdoors Editor Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter:@FDNMoutdoors.