Hutaree Militia Cleared Of All Charges
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. Other weapons crimes tied to the alleged conspiracies also were dismissed.
“There are very few judges that have this kind of courage,” defense lawyer Michael Rataj said.
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.”