Judge tells defense: Prove militia isn’t dangerous

DETROIT — A judge told attorneys for nine members of a Michigan militia charged with trying to launch war against the U.S. that they must prove their clients aren’t as dangerous as prosecutors claim before she will release them.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts heard appeals today of another judge’s detention order. She told defense attorneys the burden is on them to show why their clients should be released from jail on bond.

The government says the group, called Hutaree, is an extremist organization. In court today, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet played an audio tape of what he said were several militia members talking freely about killing police.

The eight men and one woman have been in custody since their arrests during FBI raids across the Midwest about a month ago. They were indicted on weapons charges and conspiracy to commit sedition.

The indictment says the nine plotted violent acts against police officers as a steppingstone to a widespread uprising against the government. Defense lawyers, however, say their clients are being punished for being outspoken.

They were expected to present their case later today and call a federal agent as a witness. They had not been able to call the agent during the initial detention hearing in late March. But Roberts ruled Monday night that the agent — who supervised the case and whose name has not made public, can be compelled to testify.

An undercover agent infiltrated the group and secretly recorded the leader, David Stone, declaring, “It’s time to strike and take our nation back so that we may be free again from tyranny.”

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