From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
3 p.m. update:
William "Drop Zone Bill" Fulton, the former Spenard military surplus store owner, bounty hunter and security services provider who infiltrated a Fairbanks-area militia testified today against the militia members.
Alaska Peacemakers Militia leader Schaeffer Cox and his subordinates, Lonnie Vernon and Coleman Barney, are on trial for allegedly plotting to kidnap and kill law enforcement officials.
Some notes from the trial this afternoon:
- Fulton just testified in the Fairbanks militia case. He says he spent "100s" of hours as FBI informant on Cox.
- Fulton said he was first introduced to Cox by Joe Miller and Frank Bailey in his hotel room at the 2008 Republican Convention.
(Editor's note: Bailey was an aide to then-Gov. Sarah Palin at the time; Miller would go on to run for U.S. Senate and hired Fulton and his Drop Zone Security for body guard services.)
- Cox asked Fulton in 2010 to serve "warrants" on judges and other court workers. "(He) was planning on having us try judges and hang them."
Check back for a full story on today's court proceedings.
To former Alaska Peacemaker Militia leader Les Zerbe, his Fairbanks group was the good guys.
A team of “serious, concerned” men who feared the wounded U.S. economy would collapse, leaving government services in tatters and Fairbanks unprotected. “Being isolated as we are, we would have some serious problems to deal with, including law and order going by the wayside," Zerbe told jurors today.
The self-described ordained minister had less to say about a clip prosecutors played in court just before noon, showing Zerbe sitting silently in a Fairbanks diner as militia leader Schaeffer Cox threatened to kill police.
“I would fire on my own government. I would fire on police officers who were my own neighbors,” Cox tells a young man in the undated clip. He talks about the need for principled people to rise up against governments that fail to protect the rights of their citizens.
Zerbe, who says he rose to second-in-command in the militia, says he doesn’t know when and where the interview was filmed.
The debate over the purpose of the militia -- deputized protectors or lethal dissidents? – was a reccurring theme as the trial entered Day 15 in Anchorage federal court.
U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan today rejected efforts by defense lawyers to dismiss the charges based on a lack of evidence.
The trial resumes at 1:30 p.m., with more witnesses for the defense. Bryan told Cox and fellow defendants Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon they must choose between two Constitutional rights: The right to remain silent today in court, or the right to speak out on their own behalf.