The case that was touted as proof positive that the Federal Government was taking right wing militia threat seriously and was holding them legally accountable has been thrown out by the judge as lacking sufficient evidence of sedition. The judge upheld their right to verbally claim an interest in taking up arms against their fellow Americans.
A federal judge in Michigan has thrown out most of a high profile case against a US Christian-based militia group, saying prosecutors failed to prove that members of the Hutaree were doing more than talking about their hatred of the government.
The seven defendants were accused of plotting to kill law enforcement officers as a way to incite a wider rebellion against the US government, but defence lawyers argued that their conversations were protected by free speech rights and were never put into action.
Judge Victoria Roberts granted the defence's motion to acquit the members on Tuesday, saying that while she was "aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient to show a conspiracy ... they do not rise to that level" in the case at hand.
The defense claimed they were a social club, despite videos like the one above.
DETROIT — A group of militia members arrested nearly two years ago in southern Michigan effectively operated as a “social club” that amassed guns and bombs to defend themselves, not to plot a war against the government, their lawyers said Monday at the start of a trial for seven of the defendants.
Monthly training sessions for the group, which called itself the Hutaree, were so casual that they were often called off for rain, snow or cold, the lawyers said in opening arguments. They said conversations involving the group’s leader, David B. Stone Sr., and other defendants about the police and the government were nothing more than harmless “venting” protected by the First Amendment.
“David Stone was exercising his God-given right to blow off steam and open his mouth,” his lawyer, William W. Swor, told jurors.