Publius pro tem
- Sep 30, 2007
- Reaction score
Michigan Militia Members Cleared of Charges that
Accused Them of Plotting War Against Government
(U.S. Marshalls Service, File/Associated Press) - FILE - This file combo of
eight photos provided by the U.S. Marshals Service on Monday March 29,
2010 shows, from top left, David Brian Stone Sr., 44, of Clayton, Mich,; David
Brian Stone Jr. of Adrian, Mich,; Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio; Tina Mae
Stone and bottom row from left, Michael David Meeks, 40, of Manchester,
Mich,; Kristopher T. Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio; Joshua John
By Associated Press, March 27
AP DETROIT A federal judge on Tuesday gutted the governments case
against seven members of a Michigan militia, dismissing the most serious
charges in an extraordinary defeat for federal authorities who insisted they
had captured homegrown rural extremists poised for war.
U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said the members expressed hatred of
law enforcement didnt amount to a conspiracy to rebel against the
government. The FBI had secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent
inside the Hutaree militia starting in 2008 to collect hours of anti-government
audio and video that became the cornerstone of the case.
The court is aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient
to show a conspiracy. In this case, however, they do not rise to that level,
the judge said on the second anniversary of raids and arrests that broke up
Roberts granted requests for acquittal on the most serious charges:
conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the U.S. and conspiring to
use weapons of mass destruction. Other weapons crimes tied to the alleged
conspiracies also were dismissed.
The judge had a lot of guts, defense attorney William Swor said. It would
have been very easy to say, The heck with it, and hand it off to the jury.
But the fact is she looked at the evidence, and she looked at it very carefully.
The trial, which began Feb. 13, will resume Thursday with only a few gun
charges remaining against militia leader David Stone and son Joshua Stone,
both from Lenawee County, Mich. They have been in custody without bond
for two years.
Prosecutors said Hutaree members were anti-government rebels who
combined training and strategy sessions to prepare for a violent strike
against federal law enforcement, triggered first by the slaying of a police
But there never was an attack. Defense lawyers said highly offensive remarks
about police and the government were wrongly turned into a high-profile
criminal case that drew public praise from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder,
who in 2010 called Hutaree a dangerous organization.
David Stones statements and exercises do not evince a concrete
agreement to forcibly resist the authority of the United States government,
Roberts said Tuesday. His diatribes evince nothing more than his own hatred
for perhaps even desire to fight or kill law enforcement; this is not the
same as seditious conspiracy.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade declined to comment. Two years ago, when
militia members were arrested, she said it was time to take them down.
The FBI had put a local informant, Dan Murray, inside the militia in 2008 and
paid him $31,000. An FBI agent from New Jersey also was embedded. Steve
Haug, known as Jersey Steve, posed as a trucker and spent months
secretly recording talks with Stone. He even served as Stones best man at
his wedding, a celebration with militia members wearing military fatigues.
Haug repeatedly talked to Stone about building pipe bombs and getting other
sophisticated explosives. The FBI rented a warehouse in Ann Arbor where the
agent would invite him and others to store and discuss weapons.
Haug told jurors he was shocked by Stones knowledge of explosives, noting
it matched some of his own instruction as a federal agent.
Stone was recorded saying he was willing to kill police and even their families.
He considered them part of a brotherhood a sinister global authority that
included federal law enforcers and United Nations troops.
He had bizarre beliefs: Stone suspected Germany and Singapore had aircraft
stationed in Texas, and thousands of Canadian troops were poised to take
over Michigan. He said the government put computer chips in a flu vaccine.
He had a speech prepared for a regional militia gathering in Kentucky in 2010,
but bad weather forced him and others to return to Michigan. Instead, he
read it in the van while a secret camera installed by the FBI captured the remarks.
It is time to strike and take our nation back so that we may be free again
from tyranny, Stone said. Time is up, God bless all of you and welcome to
the new revolution.
Swor said Stone is a Christian who was bracing for war against the Antichrist.
This is not the United States government. This is Satans army, Swor told
the judge Monday, referring to the enemy.
Militia members cleared of all charges were Stones wife, Tina Stone, and his
son, David Stone Jr.; Thomas Piatek of Whiting, Ind.; Michael Meeks of
Manchester, Mich.; and Kris Sickles of Sandusky, Ohio.
Its hard to believe its over, said Tina Stone, crying as she spoke by
phone. Thank God we live in a country where we do have freedom of speech.
Joshua Clough of Blissfield, Mich., pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in
December and awaits his sentence. Jacob Ward of Huron, Ohio, will have a
Jeez - you can't trust ANYBODY anymore!