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Accused Oregon refuge occupier cites devil, demands damages from U.S.

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(Reuters) - A woman charged with conspiracy in the takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge last month has filed a rambling counter-complaint in which she accuses the federal government of working for the devil and demands $666,666,666,666.66 in damages.

Shawna Cox, who made headlines by challenging the FBI’s version of the events leading up to the death Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, another of the occupants, said she and the other occupiers were victims of numerous crimes committed by mercenaries and foreign agents.

“I claim I and the others involved in these actions have suffered damages from the works of the devil in excess of $666,666,666,666.66,” Cox wrote in a complaint filed in federal court in Oregon on Wednesday. The number “666” comes from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, and is believed by some fundamentalist Christians to signify the “beast” or the anti-Christ.

Cox’s complaint, which was not signed by a lawyer, is the latest twist in a case that is far from over, as 16 of the occupiers face conspiracy charges, while Finicum’s family demands the release of the state’s autopsy of his body after he was shot by Oregon State Police and authorities attempt to determine how much the nearly six-week long occupation really cost.

The occupation began on Jan. 2, when activists protesting the return to prison of two ranchers convicted of setting fires on federal land took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon.

In their opposition to federal control of western lands that ranchers use to graze cattle, and the charges they must pay the government, the occupiers took a stance reminiscent of the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, a decades-old conflict over federal jurisdiction of millions of acres in the West.

Along with Cox, the group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, was arrested over the occupation, as were a dozen other followers. His father, Cliven Bundy, was also arrested last week in connection with a separate 2014 standoff near his Nevada ranch.

Finicum was shot dead by Oregon state police after he jumped out of a car stopped at a law enforcement roadblock. The FBI, which released a video of the shooting, said the 54-year-old appeared to be reaching for a gun, but Cox, who was also in the car, said in her complaint that he was murdered.

Cox’s lawyer, Tiffany Harris, said Wednesday that she had no comment on her client’s counter-complaint.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Bernard Orr