Byline: By Martin Gottesfeld and Francis Schaeffer Cox
PLEASE NOTE: The authors have made this series available at FreeMartyG.com and FreeSchaeffer.com under the latest Creative Commons by-attribution commercial-use-permitted share-alike no-derivatives license.
This is part 5. Click here to read Inside the Black Sites Where Obama, Clinton, and Holder Buried Their Secrets—Part 1 of the CMU Series or click here to read The DOJ’s “Torture Chamber” In Indiana—Part 4 of the CMU Series.
“What do you mean, you ‘don’t have a plan‽’” Bill boomed.
In attack mode, he propelled his 6-foot-tall frame over the countertop at my friend Les and me.
Bill was enraged. And drunk. His face flushed red beneath his flat-top haircut as the crowded room of my supporters fell silent.
Bill grabbed the knife from his belt and he put it to Les’ neck.
“I’ll slit your throat and bleed you out at my feet, you [expletive deleted] son of a [expletive deleted]! It’s go time!”
I’ve thought a lot about that moment over the years. But I didn’t know then what I know now.
Bill, it turned out, was a highly-motivated undercover FBI informant/provocateur on a mission—a political operation. And he and his handlers, it seems, weren’t just after me.
The DOJ had altered the balance of power in the U.S. Senate with its “Operation Polar Pen,” based in my home state of Alaska. Federal prosecutors from the DOJ’s “Public Integrity Section” used a trial in U.S. District Court about two years earlier to sideline elder-statesman Ted Stevens, a popular incumbent GOP senator whom I had endorsed from the podium at many grass-roots rallies packed with thousands of supporters. The Democrats then enjoyed a filibuster-proof supermajority with exactly 60 votes in the Senate.
“In nearly 25 years on the bench,” fumed Judge Emmet G. Sullivan once some of the underlying details of the Stevens prosecution emerged, “I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case.”
Sullivan appeared eager to distance himself from what had happened in his own courtroom in Washington, D.C. His ritual tongue-lashing went on for about 14 minutes in front of a gallery packed with reporters and he took the [nearly-]unprecedented step of appointing an independent attorney to investigate the prosecutors. He’d already held three of them in contempt of court.
By the time Eric Holder, the new attorney general, was personally all but forced to drop the charges, even he, the seemingly-shameless revolving-door bankster, came across as embarrassed.
Stevens, himself a former federal prosecutor, vowed to run for office again, and to spearhead comprehensive reform legislation to ensure the DOJ divulges evidence indicating that a defendant is innocent—the type of evidence it unlawfully withheld in his case, and, later in mine. Such a law would help rein in runaway federal prosecutors and serve as a serious check on the DOJ’s power. The DOJ opposed it vehemently.
Then, Stevens died in a mysterious plane crash.
Important navigational/safety equipment called the terrain awareness warning system (TAWS)—equipment designed to prevent exactly such a crash and equipment that no right-thinking pilot would likely shut off in Alaska —inexplicably was disabled prior to takeoff.
Nick Marsh, a federal prosecutor from the Stevens case, was found hanging from a makeshift noose in his own basement about 6 weeks later. He’d been positioned to take the likely and seemingly-inevitable fall for the Stevens case, though it’s possible he could’ve implicated higher-ups in the DOJ too.
I believe that Marsh worked on my case as well, but that the DOJ hid his involvement after Judge Sullivan hired an independent lawyer to look into prosecutorial misconduct against Stevens.
First responders found blood stains across Marsh’s basement. Both his wrists were slit. Authorities promptly ruled his death a suicide and closed their investigation into his death. But his demise didn’t hide everything.
That’s Bill Allen, the billionaire former owner of VECO, a construction and oil-pipeline service company in Alaska (and a different Bill than the one who held a knife to my friend Les’ throat). He was also the “star witness” against Stevens.
Allen testified that VECO completed about $250,000 in renovations on Stevens’s home in Girdwood, Alaska. Prosecutors from the “Public Integrity Section,” including Marsh, as well as others from the U.S. attorney’s office in Anchorage who later worked on my case, like Joseph Bottini, presented fake accounting records and knowingly withheld evidence from Stevens’ defense showing that the records were bogus.
Allen billed Stevens, his supposed friend, about $165,000 for the work, an apparent difference of $85,000 that the “Public Integrity Section” claimed was an unreported and illegitimate gift meant to curry political favor.
Allen, however, seems to have been no real friend to Stevens, and he’d actually overbilled him. But the DOJ withheld Allen’s candid admission that the fair value of the work his company did on Stevens’ home was closer to $80,000. And, as a general contractor in Alaska myself, I probably would’ve done the job on Stevens’s modest home for under $30,000.
The prosecution also had Allen testify that a request Stevens sent him, asking explicitly for an invoice so he could comply with Senate ethics rules, was merely an effort to produce a phony paper trail and “cover his ass.” Allen, however, told the DOJ otherwise before he took the stand.
And if anyone was covering someone’s ass, then it seems the DOJ was doing so for Allen. Unbeknownst to Stevens and his defense team, the Anchorage Police Department was investigating Allen for possible human trafficking, prostitution with a minor, and obtaining a false sworn statement from that minor, thereby suborning perjury from her.
Allen was just the proverbial tip of the-iceberg too, at least if my grassroots experience canvassing Alaska door-to-door was worth anything. Over and over again, folks raised concerns about the sexual exploitation of children by powerful people in moneyed positions of influence—like Allen and convicted-rapist Josef Boehm, the since-deceased owner of Alaska Industrial Hardware, one of the biggest suppliers of large-scale physical components for Alaska’s massive oil industry. Inuit children and those from other native tribes seemed at particular risk. Honest local law enforcers felt stymied in their efforts to hold power brokers accountable. Arrests were unheard-of.
Records reflect that prosecutors felt Allen would become “unglued” at the prospect of facing public pedophilia charges. They used that leverage to motivate Allen to make the charges go away.
With Allen then testifying for Marsh and Bottini in contradiction of his own earlier statements about Stevens, the DOJ told the Anchorage police to put their investigation of Allen on ice. To me, the DOJ’s “Public Integrity Section” accused Senator Stevens of a corrupt quid pro quo, when, in-reality, the only corrupt quid pro quo was its own agreement to sell out Allen’s victims in exchange for his false testimony against Stevens. And, then they didn’t want me telling stadiums full of people about their dirty deals.
Except for Judge Sullivan’s public admonishment after the Stevens jury returned a guilty finding and he lost his Senate seat, the DOJ basically got away with it. With Marsh dead, the independent investigation Sullivan ordered was ultimately toothless.
“Had things been different, Stevens would have been [re]elected. Prosecutors actually determined the outcome of the balance of power in the U.S. Senate by their misconduct,” said Joseph diGenova, former U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., in an interview with Washington Lawyer.
Most people, meanwhile, seem unaware that former-President Obama and the DNC can credit the filibuster-proof 60-vote supermajority they enjoyed in the Senate in 2009 to the gross prosecutorial misconduct and other abuses of power carried out by the supposed “Public Integrity Section” of the Justice Department and that the Obama administration later promoted many of those staff to key positions.
The DOJ wasn’t done in Alaska either.
A few months after the knife-wielding antics of Bill, the undercover FBI informant/provocateur, in front of a room of my supporters in Fairbanks, he managed to single-handedly derail the 2010 U.S. Senate campaign of my friend Joe Miller. Surprising many, Miller had upset incumbent-GOP-rival Lisa Murkowski in that year’s primary, making him seem like a sure thing to take her place.
Beneath it all, the DOJ, or more specifically, its “Public Integrity Section,” seemed to have figured out an interesting aspect of Congressional mechanics: there were about 436,000 registered voters in Alaska in 2008, and the state is largely ignored in national news and politics.
So, with relatively little effort and scrutiny, it was theoretically possible to snag two seats in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives, all with about the same amount of political elbow grease required to sway a local city-mayor’s race elsewhere in America. It’s worth noting that after his trial, Stevens, a 6+-term incumbent, lost to Democrat Mark Begich by less than 10,000 votes.
But, I wasn’t thinking about voter-to-senator ratios when Les, my white-haired 67ish-year-old friend, stumbled backwards away from Bill’s blade, all the way to the wall, and the uneasy quiet in the room was broken by my one-and-a-half-year-old son Seth crying in my arms.
At that point, Steven Gibson, a military policeman (M.P.) stationed at nearby Fort Wainwright, hadn’t yet warned me that authorities were trying to use Seth as a pretense to shoot me and claim “self-defense,” less than two years after the Stevens crash and Marsh’s death.
The feds had filed a bogus complaint against me with state social services, a common tactic to gain entry into a private home without establishing probable cause. The state would later determine that the complaint was “baseless.” And in my case, it-seems something more nefarious was-afoot than-warrantless entry.
M.P. Gibson later testified that a deputy U.S. marshal told him, “Whatever the problem was with Schaeffer Cox, if he was killed with [social services] attempting to take his son, then obviously anything that had to do with him wouldn’t matter anymore.”
But I digress.
“Lead the charge and attack the government, or we’ll kill you guys ourselves to get you out of the way!” Bill declared, reiterating an ultimatum that he’d issued to Les and me a minute or so earlier, purportedly on behalf of himself and his out-of-town paramilitary buddies. “You think I’m [expletive deleted] around‽ Try me!”
Supposedly, Bill was faking it, at least that’s what he claimed later. Supposedly, he wasn’t going to hurt anybody that night. Supposedly, he was still in control of himself despite bringing a 12-pack of IPA and then drinking nearly 6 Heinekens in the roughly 90 minutes prior, as he later wrote. By his own account, he “knew” that he would “blow a DUI badly if it came down to it” that night.
But Bill’s foggy-goggle narrative aside, I know what really happened–and why he was really there. He was on a mission, hell-bent to corner, terrify, and coerce me into uttering a hasty-but-nonetheless-admissible statement that his handlers could then quote out of context in order to make a federal conspiracy case against me.
You see, they desperately needed to justify their out-of-control “investigation” into my Second-Amendment rallies, where I endorsed GOP politicians like Stevens and Miller, and Alaska’s Congressman Don Young, whom I know they were also trying to topple. They had trawled their bogus dragnet through my life for years at taxpayer expense, trying to snare me in something, without ever uncovering anything criminal. I was a well-known and peaceful Second-Amendment political organizer, and my family was put through hell, with the DOJ hoping that I’d verbally lash out and say I was going to hurt those responsible, which I never did.
Indeed, a panel of federal prosecutors had reviewed the evidence they’d gathered thus far and concluded that I had not crossed the line between First-Amendment-protected speech and actionable offense. But the politically-minded investigation-insearch-of-a-crime pressed forward anyways. I had no idea how alone I wasn’t.
Thus, Bill and his handlers hadn’t been thrust innocently into a “[C]onstitutional minefield,” as he later indicated. No, they’d defiantly stormed right into one. But, as usually happens when the DOJ goes overboard, it took years for the truth to come out, for Judge Sullivan to appoint an independent investigator, for that investigator to submit his 525-page report, and finally for the DOJ “task force” targeting Republicans in Alaska to be defunded just days after Trump took office.
By then, it was too late for Stevens, Miller, and me.
I’ve since learned that this (mis)conduct wasn’t limited to “Operation Polar Pen” and Alaska. In 2016, for example, road-warrior GOP campaigner Aaron Schock (R-IL) left office in apparent disgrace like Stevens, and, like Stevens again, over 100 felony charges that were brought against Schock during an overzealous federal prosecution were eventually thrown out. There’s also former-Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX). He too apparently made the mistake of demanding accountability out of the DOJ, only to end up in its crosshairs. Marty and I wish him the best of luck.
Now, I should also mention that Bill has his own version of these events in Alaska. Clouded by alcohol and fueled by the kind of gung-ho juvenile aggression that can cause a man to pound 18 beers in 90 minutes and then pull a knife in a room full of NRA members, Bill’s book is littered with sentence fragments, like, “[Expletive]. Rolling Pin. Whack.”
I’m not saying book is fake. I’m saying Buzzfeed’s Jason Leopold says it’s real. As a reminder, Leopold is the reporter who kept pushing a story about the Mueller investigation even after Mueller’s office refuted it publicly. His journalistic career has been plagued by numerous scandals over inaccuracies and plagiarism.
So, maybe it’s not all that surprising that while Bill described himself as “a self-taught bouncing specialist” in his book, Leopold “salute[d] Bill” on its back cover, describing him as a mix between Richard North Patterson and Hunter S. Thompson (noted author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, among other famous works).
That comparison, of course, seems unfair to the late Thompson. Unlike Bill, he could drink while still writing in complete sentences, and he didn’t have the benefit of the colored underlines in Microsoft Word® to help him avoid publishing apostrophe-free gems like, “First things first.”
Was Bill merely one pen stroke over the line when he wrote his book? No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.
And while Thompson wrote about being afraid of getting reported to “some outback Nazi law-enforcement agency,” Bill actually reported people in the outback of Alaska to the local FBI, like some sort of secret policeman, and strong-armed people with death threats.
Further, while Thompson was actually a journalist, and he wrote about being a journalist, Bill once handcuffed a journalist at a town-hall campaign event, causing MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann to name him the “Worst Person in the World.”
That incident, it seems, was part of the DOJ’s efforts to turn Alaska blue. Though, perhaps as one would expect, Bill and his handlers have never admitted it.
You see, Bill ran a military-surplus store in Anchorage that catered mostly to conservatives, complete with a big scary poster of Obama as the Joker from Batman in the front window. He’d also been a Ron Paul delegate in 2008 and he headed a local crew of bail-bond bounty hunters.
All of this kept up appearances for Bill as an undercover operative and gave him the public stature to weasel his way into local GOP campaigns. And weasel he did.
But, while Bill says he’s married to a woman he met at a strip-club bachelorette party, when her friends were stuffing dollars into his G-string, Bill went home at night and secretly obsessed over his “other girl”, Rachel Maddow.
As both an FBI informant/provocateur and the head of security for the 2010 Joe Miller for Senate campaign, however, Bill pounced in a room full of reporters, ostensibly trying to place the founding editor of The Alaska Dispatch under citizen’s arrest.
When the actual cops got there, they refused to take Bill’s quarry into official custody, and released him.
The fallout was immediate and intense. It was game over for Miller’s campaign. And Bill’s “other girl” publicly denounced him on her show.
“The press incorrectly attributed my loss to the handcuffing incident – that was the cover for the massive fraud that was perpetuated here in Alaska. During the wrongly-named “recount” process, we observed literally thousands of fraudulently cast ballots, more than the margin of Murkowski’s victory. The evidence was overwhelming that her victory in 2010 was by fraud and illegality, not due to federal informant Bill Fulton’s staged hand-cuffing,” says Miller now.
“That being said, there is little question in my mind that Bill Fulton was assigned by the Deep State to my campaign to gather intel and compromise its operation, similar to what was carried out against Trump several years later. Interestingly, two years before my 2010 race, Fulton appeared out-of-nowhere to assist my effort to remove Randy Ruedrich as head of the state GOP in 2008. I believe the feds had him attached to me even then, in an effort to protect Alaska’s corrupt establishment. It’s all about protecting power, the law be damned,” he explains.
Yet, the Democrats didn’t win that election either. Alaskan voters had lived through the Stevens prosecution and the plane crash. They weren’t about to fall for the same trick twice, it seemed. Surprising many out-of-staters, Lisa Murkowski won the general election by 5,200 votes with a write-in campaign, even though she lost the primary to Miller and her name wasn’t on the ballot.
I might have had similar luck with my trial at the local federal courthouse in Fairbanks, where people knew me and knew all too well what the DOJ had been doing with taxpayer resources.
Indeed, I’m likely still alive because a bystander from the area happened to notice SWAT teams staging themselves around the corner on the day of my arrest and warned me. This caused them to have to spring their trap early—and with a neutral witness around.
According to Bill, the FBI was sure to arm those SWAT teams with ammunition that would penetrate body armor. They were going to shoot to kill, it seems, as M.P. Gibson warned me and later testified.
But with a witness around, they couldn’t shoot me in cold blood and then claim “self-defense”.
I thank God that bystander was there that day when 10 or so men carrying M-4 assault rifles, dressed in olive-green fatigues, surrounded me with their safeties off.
At the time of my arrest, on March 10th, 2011, my wife, my son, our newborn baby girl Bri, and I had been hiding in an attic for 21 days. We were terrified of what Bill and his handlers were going to do. We-were trying to flee the country to save our lives.
That day, a truck driver was supposed to take us into Canada and away from it all.
But there was no truck driver. It was all a ploy by prosecutors. They manufactured the threats, like Bill’s, and the would-be solution too.
Despite the millions of federal tax dollars the feds had likely spent on my case, the DOJ backed off once I was in custody. They let the local district attorney’s office prosecute me, as I’m told the DOJ commonly does to avoid embarrassment when a case has been assessed as weak, or when federal prosecutors don’t want their methods to come under much scrutiny, or both.
With the help of my friend, a local attorney named Robert John, every single state charge was dismissed on Constitutional grounds.
But we weren’t out of the woods. And I never left custody.
The DOJ then brought the same charges in federal court. It’s normal for federal judges to allow this circumvention of the 5th Amendment double-jeopardy clause. Thus, federal prosecutors get another bite at the apple; an opportunity to shore up their case after taking a test-run in state court, like a dress rehearsal.
And when the truth didn’t seem good enough for federal prosecutors Steve Skrocki and Joseph Bottini to make their case against me in the much more prosecutor-friendly federal court either, they did what they often do, i.e. the same things they did to Ted Stevens and Aaron Schock—they lied, withheld evidence, and fully leveraged their home-court advantage—knowing ahead of time they’d get away with it.
“This has built up over years—the people at [the DOJ] have come to believe that they are immune, that nobody can touch them, and that judges will ignore their prosecutorial misconduct,” warned former U.S. Attorney diGenova on the heels of the Stevens case in 2009.
Indeed, the definitive work on “Operation Polar Pen,” written by former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, is aptly entitled Licensed to Lie (and it was a #1 Bestseller on Amazon with a good rating).
Federal prosecutors have further come to believe that they can bury inconvenient defendants like me in the CMUs, and thereby stop the press from picking up on their out-of-control prosecutorial misconduct after the fact. But first thing was first. They’d have to convict me.
Now, Bill, it turned out, recorded his two violent confrontations with Les and me. Those recordings show what Bill said and did—and what I didn’t. They’d be devastating to the DOJ’s claim that I was planning to murder federal officials. And, under the rules, federal prosecutors Steve Skrocki and Joseph Bottini were supposed to fork over those recordings to my defense counsel.
Instead, they claimed that the DOJ turned over all of the recordings to Bill and that he destroyed them—every single copy. So, my jury never heard what I actually did and didn’t say, and the court wouldn’t let me tell my jury my version of what was on those recordings.
After testifying to his own destruction of those recordings, Bill has since tweeted one of them. He also claimed on the witness stand that the FBI hadn’t paid him, going so far as to include a doodle in his book of him denying he received compensation during my trial. I’ve since learned, however, that the FBI offered him $160,000 if I was convicted.
“It’s very troubling that [the Justice Department] would utilize records that [it] knows were false,” Judge Sullivan remarked during a hearing for the Stevens case involving some of the same federal prosecutors.
Yet it was my word against theirs and a parade of government witnesses, some paid, some testifying under deals to avoid or to minimize their own charges, or both. None of them seemed to have the slightest fear of perjury so long as they said what the prosecutors wanted to hear.
The court wouldn’t let me show my jury, proof that I was trying to flee to Canada because my family and I were terrified of what Bill and the DOJ were going to do. That would’ve shown that my plans weren’t violent and that I was desperate to avoid confrontation.
The DOJ told the jury that I was lying, and the court went along with it.
The jury found me guilty having never heard the truth.
After the jury phase, however, the DOJ asked the court to lengthen my sentence, because, prosecutors then argued, I had obstructed justice by fleeing to Canada after all.
There’s more too. Of course, it’s far too much to include here.
Again, a jury in Fairbanks, where I lived, might’ve seen through some of the smoke in mirrors. But they moved my trial at the last minute, to Anchorage, some 360 miles (580 kilometers) away. The juror demographics there were much more favorable to the DOJ.
Distance-wise, it was like moving the trial from Washington, D.C., to Wilmington, North Carolina—if the space between those two cities were filled with icy tundra, where run-of-the-mill car trouble could kill you. The DOJ’s people and witnesses, like Bill, all had their airfare and lodging prepaid by the government. Many of my witnesses could no longer afford to come.
Steven Cooper, the federal prosecutor from Fairbanks, still made it to Anchorage though—to testify in my defense. He could’ve told everybody how I went to him to report Bill and his violent friends and asked for his advice on how to handle the situation. But when Cooper took the stand, Skrocki and Bottini erupted in an incoherent fit of frantic objections. They succeeded in keeping the truth from the jury then as well.
At some point during the Polar-Pen fiasco, then—Attorney-General Eric Holder took some criticism over these shenanigans and made an on-the-record statement basically reassuring the American public that he and his subordinates weren’t sparing Bill Allen for corrupt reasons, while prosecuting political figures like Stevens and me. He similarly abdicated responsibility to prosecute people from the financial sector in the wake of the global financial crisis. But I’m no Wall Streeter, and the case against me for not harming anyone pressed on.
I was sentenced to over 25 years in prison.
In 2018, however, some 7 years into my sentence, with my son, Seth, now age 9 and Bri, age 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit cleared me of the most serious felony charges that Skrocki and Bottini manufactured. The appellate judges ruled that no rational jury could’ve found me guilty of them in the first place.
The remaining charges sound like something from a Mad Max/Road Warrior dystopian future. They were summed up by the DOJ saying that if there was ever “Stalinesque martial law, mass arrests, and purges, at some undetermined and unknown point in the future, [ I ] Schaeffer Cox, would be compelled to take up arms against the government, be sufficiently armed and equipped to sustain a take-over of the ‘government’ or become a new government in the event of a ‘government’ collapse.”
I’m not making that up. Though, for my own sake, and for that of my family, I wish that I were.
Obviously, it’s ridiculous. It’s also how the DOJ can make up a thought crime in order to lock up any real-world pro—Second-Amendment political figure who tries to hold them accountable today.
Larry Pratt, executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America, wrote that my case is of broad importance, because, “When a government decides what we can eat, what we must buy and what we are allowed to think, we no longer have life.”
And I’m here to add, “Just ask Ted Stevens.”