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Fearing a 'sideshow swallowing the circus,' Feds seek militia damage control

Alaska Dispatch

The Fairbanks Daily News Miner reports that federal prosecutors are asking for limited testimony regarding FBI informant Gerald "JR" Olson's criminal past, for fear that it "would run the real risk of the sideshow swallowing the circus."

In a motion filed Monday, U.S. Attorney for Alaska Karen Loeffler said testimony about Olson's criminal past, a convicted swindler with a long history of scamming people out of money, should be limited. Olson's past crimes include stealing a construction tractor, and defrauding customers of a septic tank business, both felonies, as Alaska Dispatch first reported. Olson received leniency in the sentence for his more recent theft conviction in exchange for his assistance in the militia case, according to prosecutors.

The prosecution is also looking to limit reference to the criminal pasts of three other witnesses, who have drug and DUI convictions. 

Meanwhile, prosecutors are also refuting defense claims that the term "weapons cache" should be excluded during trial. Defense attorneys had argued it would give a wrong and negative impression to jurors. Government attorneys have released excerpts of transcripts showing that the defendants themselves used the term "cache" when referring to their stash of weapons. 

Schaeffer Cox, whose Alaska Peacemakers Militia allegedly hatched a plot to kill U.S. Marshals, federal agents and judges, is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison. The violent anti-government conspiracy has come to be known as the 2-4-1 plot -- a reference to a plan to kill or kidnap two government authorities for every militia member taken into custody or harmed. 

Read more about Schaeffer Cox's past, here, and more about Alaska Militias, here.