Trial opens 2 years after feds break up Christian militia
If these were Al Qaeda members, everyone would be laughing at the “we were only talking” defense that appears to be forming in the case. However since these are Christians the defense might work for some of the defendants because the average juror will have a hard time picturing US Christians becoming dangerously extreme. Al Qaeda and the Taliban also started as “just talk” mixed with religious fundamentalist justification however.
Seven members of a Midwest militia accused of plotting to overthrow the government are set to stand trial, where jurors will decide whether federal authorities prevented an attack by homegrown extremists or simply made too much of the boasts by weekend warriors who had pledged to “take our nation back.”
Opening statements are set for Monday once a jury is seated in the trial of members of the Hutaree militia, who are charged with conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, as well as weapon crimes.
Following the March 2010 arrests in southern Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said the time had come for authorities to “take them down.” An undercover agent had recorded the group’s leader, David Stone, saying the militia needed to “start huntin’” police soon.
But since their capture, only one of nine people charged has struck a plea deal, an unusually low number in a case with so many defendants. Their attorneys have maintained a consistent stance: The anti-government talk was simply colorful yet aimless bluster akin to frustrated pals drowning sorrows around a campfire.