In a ruling sure to cause embarrassment to the FBI and Homeland security, today Federal Judge Victoria Roberts dismissed all conspiracy charges against seven members of the Michigan Hutaree Militia group ruling that the government failed to prove their case. Two members still face charges for possession of illegal weapons. The Tuesday decision is an embarrassment for the government, which secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia and claimed members were armed for war in rural southern Michigan.
The militia members were charged with conspiring to commit rebellion, or sedition, against the government and other crimes. There was no actual attack before they were rounded up in March 2010.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheldon Light conceded there’s no proof of a “specific plan” to attack the government. But he said there’s much evidence in secretly recorded conversations to show the Hutaree militia wanted to draw in federal law enforcement by killing local authorities.
“So much of this case is about people being present. … Many things the defendants said are quite offensive. But so what?” Judge Roberts said.
“I would not agree that there had to be a plan for a widespread uprising to constitute the conspiracy charge,” Light said.
Roberts said prosecutors seem to believe that someone can be charged with conspiracy unless they actively disagree with the plot.
Independent attorneys who observed the case had predicted that Judge Roberts would dismiss the case based on questions she asked the prosecutors and comments she made in court. It was apparent that she felt that the charges were a stretch. The government wasted over ten million dollars pursuing these charges and it is encouraging to see a judge with the integrity to stand up for human rights over government control. The defendants have been held without bail since their arrest in March of 2010.