By JR on Tuesday, April 03, 2012
The case was designed to fuel hysteria against conservative groups in the early days of the Obama administration. The Leftist pretence was that conservatives are just as dangerous as Muslims
"We haven't worked a year and a half on this investigation and risked [an undercover agent's] life to walk away from this with 3 arrests," groused the secret police investigator two years ago. By that time it had become clear the FBI wouldn’t be able to manufacture a successful criminal conspiracy out of a few trivial firearms violations and a surfeit of anti-government rhetoric.
The Hutaree was the first non-Muslim "domestic extremist" group to be cast as the lead in one of the Bureau’s post-911 Homeland Security Theater productions. U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, who was able to see the plot holes in the FBI’s implausible script, had the character and good sense – traits otherwise all but impossible to find on the bench – to dismiss the case with prejudice [i.e. She barred re-opening the case]
In her order granting the defense motion for summary judgment, Roberts – who had previously expressed severe skepticism regarding the supposed merits of the case – lambasted the Feds for repeatedly venturing beyond "inference to pure speculation" and "attempting to formulate an alternative theory of criminal liability" when it became clear that they couldn’t provide tangible evidence of intent to commit an overt criminal act. This resulted in a theory of the case "based primarily on two conversations … the first on August 13, 2009, and the second on February 20, 2010."
The Hutaree "militia" was a loosely organized group of obscure people united by their entirely commendable hostility toward the criminal clique calling itself the United States Government. They apparently shared a set of apocalyptic beliefs about the imminent rise of the Antichrist, and they engaged in survivalist training in anticipation of the End Times, when they might confront the necessity to use defensive force against government agents – whether foreign or domestic – in league with the enemy.
The original indictment – which Judge Roberts eviscerated in a preliminary ruling – accused the Michigan dissidents of making material preparations to carry out specific criminal acts. When it was shown that there was no evidence to support that charge, the Feds shifted their focus and charged them with "seditious conspiracy," which consisted of expressing opinions about government corruption and making physical preparations to for self-defense against criminal violence perpetrated by government authorities.
Citing a Supreme Court precedent (Russell v. United States, 1962) holding that the prosecution isn’t "free to roam at large – to shift its theory of criminality so as to take advantage of each passing vicissitude of the trial," Roberts observed that the Feds were not free to "say that the alleged plan set forth [in the original indictment] is irrelevant." Yet that’s precisely what they attempted to do.
Although the supposed police assassination plot was central to the case against the Hutaree, "the Government did not provide sufficient proof of the existence of a conspiracy at all," ruled Judge Roberts. "The Government says it is not certain whether the Hutaree intended to initiate the conflict, or simply engage in it once it was initiated by others."
While Hutaree members frequently engaged in what were described as "diatribes" against law enforcement, "all of this speech is protected by the First Amendment," Roberts observed. Expressing hatred for the government’s enforcement caste "is not the same as seditious conspiracy."
Under the Government’s theory of the case, Roberts noted, one could be charged with "sedition" simply through his or her "mere presence at the scene" when a Hutaree activist spoke about "going to war and killing police."
One of the defendants, Tina Mae Stone, was described by the Feds as an "active, engaged and vocal member" of the purported conspiracy because she overheard two conversations – one regarding a planned trip to Kentucky by David Stone, Sr. and the federal informant, and a second that took place in an FBI-rented warehouse in which the provocateur "discussed explosives" with Mr. Stone.
The latter conversation touched on the subject of using coffee cans and wine bottles to make improvised explosively formed projectiles (EFPs). Ms. Stone joked that "she would take one for the team and drink more wine, presumably so that the bottles could be used to make explosives," Roberts recounts. The Feds characterized that wisecrack as evidence that she had "played an active, unhesitant, and continuing role in obtaining materials to use in building EFPs" – despite the fact that she was present for only one meeting with the Hutaree co-defendants, and never provided them with anything.
Following dismissal of the case, Hutaree defendant Michael Meeks, a 42-year-old former Marine, said that the salient lesson taught by the case was the need for Americans to "watch what you say. Even the most innocent of statements can be used against you."
Actually, the lesson is that anything said in your presence can be used against you – and if a sufficiently incriminating remark isn't forthcoming from you or your friends, the Feds can always pay somebody to perform on cue, and on camera.
While the Feds didn’t succeed in imprisoning the Hutaree defendants for life, they were able to steal more than two years of their respective lives through pre-trial incarceration.
As a consolation prize, the Feds were able to extort guilty pleas from David Stone, Sr. and his son Joshua on weapons charges, which could result in prison terms.
Although U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade – the Madam DeFarge behind this case – wasn’t able to feed the defendants to the guillotine, she expressed a measure of vindictive satisfaction that the felony convictions mean "that these defendants will never be permitted to possess firearms again." She also reiterated the Regime’s intent to continue "dismantling" militias and other dissident groups suspected of impermissible animosity toward their rulers.