In March 2010 the FBI arrested seven people in raids by Joint Terrorism Task Force as part of an investigation into an Adrian-based Christian Hutaree militia group.
Today a federal judge dismissed the most serious charges against the Michigan-Ohio militia members.
The feds didn’t have a case.
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A federal judge dismissed the most serious charges Tuesday against seven members of a Michigan militia who were rounded up as homegrown extremists accused of plotting war against the U.S., saying their expressed hatred of law enforcement didn’t amount to conspiracy against the government.
The decision is an embarrassment for the government, which secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia four years ago and claimed members were armed for war in rural southern Michigan.
U.S. District Judge Victoria 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. Only weapons charges remain against two of the defendants, who have been on trial since Feb. 13.
“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,” Roberts said.
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 officer.
But there never was an attack.