Key charges dismissed against Michigan Hutaree militia members charged with plotting war on government
Updated On: Mar 27 2012 06:02:30 PM EDT
Key charges were dismissed against Michigan militia members charged with plotting war on government Tuesday.
A federal judge acquitted seven members of the Hutaree militia, saying there was not enough evidence that they plotted to overthrow the government.
U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts dismissed all charges against five of the defendants - Tina Stone, David Stone Jr., Michael Meeks, Thomas Piatek and Kristopher Sickles. But illegal weapons charges remain against the accused ringleader David Stone Sr. and his son Joshua Stone.
--David Stone Sr., a Hutaree leader
"We're happy, obviously. We're ecstatic. The judge obviously made the right call and my hats off to judge Roberts because she made a very courageous decision today," said Tina Stone's defense attorney, Michael Rataj.
Rataj said the group is harmless, saying they were just "playing Army and just exercising their First and Second amendment rights."
Who are the Hutaree:
The Hutaree are self-proclaimed "Christian warriors" who trained themselves in paramilitary techniques in preparation for what they say on their Web site is a battle against the Antichrist.
On it's website, the group says it will be "prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren't."
Accusations against them:
During a series of raids in late March, authorities arrested nine members of the southern Michigan group. The government claims they were scheming to kill a police officer then attack officers who attended the funeral in the first steps toward a broader rebellion.
The FBI said it broke up the plot with the help of an undercover agent and informants.