Acquittal of Michigan Militia Members Seen as Blow to Government


A federal judge in Detroit acquitted seven members of the Hutaree militia Tuesday of the most serious charges following six weeks of testimony in a high-profile terror case, reports the Detroit News. U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts granted a defense motion to acquit the militia members on seven charges, including seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. She ordered the trial to continue against Hutaree leader David Stone Sr. and his son, Joshua Stone, on weapons-related charges.

The judge said the government’s case was built largely on circumstantial evidence. “While this evidence could certainly lead to a rational fact-finder to conclude that ‘something fishy’ was going on, it does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants reached a concrete agreement to forcibly oppose the United States government,” Roberts wrote. Peter Henning, a former prosecutor and current law professor at Wayne State University, called the case “all talk and no action.” “This is a blow to the government,” he said. “They put a lot of resources into this case. It demonstrates how difficult it is to prove conspiracy cases that have not advanced very far.”

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