Schaeffer Cox, kidnapped and entrapped
by Attorney Robert John
A decade or so ago, an extraordinary young man was in our midst. He had a lovely wife, a 2-year-old son and a just-born baby daughter. He had climbed Denali twice, owned a sailboat in Sitka, came close to winning an Alaska Legislature election against a well known incumbent and was an outspoken advocate of the Second Amendment and freedom and liberty for all. And he was a successful businessman, which is how I met him several years earlier.
If you don’t already know of whom I am speaking, his name is Schaeffer Cox.
Schaeffer had a bright future, but then the government decided his free speech was a threat. In the latter part of 2010, the government employed at least two informants in efforts to provoke Schaeffer into illegal acts. The first was a mean and violent drunk. When Schaeffer would not agree to plan violence against the government, that informant held a knife to the throat of one of Schaeffer’s colleagues.
The second informant was even more pernicious and despicable. He had a prior felony conviction for scheming to defraud people, many of whom were elderly, and was facing new felony charges for similar conduct. His incentive was to create a crime to save his hide and to create as big a crime as possible because his federal compensation was tied to the results he produced. But Schaeffer would have none of this informant’s plans for violence. Instead, in February of 2011, Schaeffer planned to leave Alaska. The informant then stole the battery from Schaeffer’s car and kept Schaeffer and his family kidnapped for several weeks under the false pretense that a trucker was heading to Alaska to drive them to the Lower 48. This was all done with the knowledge and approval of the involved federal agents and prosecutors, some of whom are the very same ones who wrongfully prosecuted Sen. Ted Stevens, whose conviction was reversed and case dismissed when it was learned that the prosecutors had concealed evidence of innocence.
In March of 2011, the informant took Schaeffer to meet a person with the intent of placing illegal weapons in Schaeffer’s hands so he could be arrested if not killed on the spot by a large contingent of heavily armed federal agents. Schaeffer was incarcerated that day and was charged in the Alaska and federal courts. I represented Schaeffer in the state proceedings. After the second informant’s illegalities became apparent, the state wisely decided in October of 2011 to dismiss all the charges against Schaeffer. Unfortunately, the federal government then kept upping the ante by adding more-serious and bizarre charges when Schaeffer would not agree to plead to existing charges.
In 2012, Schaeffer was convicted by a jury that did not understand the difference between free speech and a crime or the distinction between a voluntary criminal act and being kidnapped and entrapped. Schaeffer was sentenced to 310 months. After an appeal, that sentence was reduced to 188 months when an imaginary solicitation to murder conviction was thrown out. The reason Schaeffer is still imprisoned today is another preposterous charge, conspiracy to murder federal officers. The government’s theory is that if the United States came under totalitarian martial law, Schaeffer and other so-called conspirators would take up arms against the occupying government.
In the aftermath, the two informants were compensated handsomely if not grotesquely. Each received six-figure payments from the federal government. In addition, the second informant had his serial fraud charges completely dismissed.
People wept in court that day.
For Schaeffer the aftermath has been a nine-year nightmare. Persons convicted in federal court in Alaska usually serve their sentences in Oregon, where Schaeffer’s wife had family. But Schaeffer was sent instead to southern Illinois where the government isolates international and domestic terrorists. I visited him there twice. It is a terrifying place.
More recently, the government transferred Schaeffer to a facility in Indiana — where the government executes its prisoners. When Schaeffer arrived there, prison officials impressed upon him that he was being placed in Timothy McVeigh’s cell. During the time Schaeffer has spent there, he has witnessed one of his Christian brethren being beheaded by Islamic terrorists, and he has lived in barbarous conditions to the point that he suffers from scurvy and other malnutrition. It is a testament to his strength of character that he has held up as well as he has. Certainly the lengthy sentence imposed upon him has been served in magnitude if not in duration.
In conclusion, I call upon President Trump, and whoever else has it within their power, to pardon Schaeffer Cox, reverse his convictions, and fully restore all of his rights and liberties so that he may return to and best provide for the family that so greatly needs him.