Judge Refuses To Dismiss Charges In Militia Trial

A federal court judge has rejected motions to dismiss charges against three Fairbanks militia members.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan says prosecutors have presented sufficient evidence allowing the case to move forward.

Francis Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon are on trial in Anchorage on charges of conspiracy to possess restricted weapons and conspiracy to murder law enforcement officers.

Defense attorney Nelson Traverso argued unsuccessfully Thursday that words uttered by Cox might have been distasteful and provocative but were not against the law.

After Bryan’s ruling, Traverso called his first witnesses.

Militia member Les Zerbe testified that the group formed to protect families if the country experienced economic failure and civil government broke down as had happened in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Download Audio