But the FBI website still touts them as examples of “Domestic Terrorism” on their website despite the full acquittal of the worst charges by a federal jury in Michigan in March, 2012.
The FBI press release has not been updated to reflect that the FBI failed to make it’s case in court.
The FBI in Michigan has not yet responded to requests by Liberty Unyielding to comment on why Hutaree is still prominently featured on their website, without any mention that the members were not convicted of the crimes in which they were accused.
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In 2010, the Washington Post and many others breathlessly reported that the Hutaree Militia was charged by the FBI for plotting against the government. David Brian Stone (top left) was reported as the head of Hutaree.
The indictment said in part,
“Members of the homegrown Christian militia accumulated weapons and explosives to target employees of the federal government, the law enforcement ‘brotherhood’ and other participants in what they called the ‘New World Order’…”
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said that it was time to “take them down.”
But in this case, like in so many others, it seems that overzealous FBI informants, many of whom are far from law-abiding themselves, pushed the “militia” to engage in trash-talk, and attempted to use the secret recordings as evidence of a plot.
As reported at utsandiego.com, the accused said that they were “being prosecuted for saying stupid things.” Fortunately for all Americans, the First Amendment allows her citizens to say stupid things. Otherwise, very few people would be roaming the streets.
During opening statements at the trial, defense attorney William W. Swor said to the jury,
“You will have to decide whether this is a real conspiracy or David Stone exercising his God-given right to blow off steam and open his mouth.”
The Detroit Free Press reported that an informant and “key witness,” Dan Murray, was “a college-educated IT specialist in his 50s who earns a six-figure salary at his real job.” The United States taxpayer gave this man $30,000 to “expose possible criminal activity by the Hutaree militia group…”
But Dan Murray had problems of his own. During the trial, as reported at the Toledo Blade, defense attorneys brought to light that,
“Murray, 57, was arrested for shooting at his wife in their home during a domestic dispute in February, 2010, nearly a month before authorities swept up nine Hutaree members in raids in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.”
Evidently, Murray was also involved in:
“a knifing incident in which he stabbed himself in the gut with a 14-inch knife and initially blamed his wife, his battle with alcohol abuse, and his failure to pay taxes on the $30,000 he earned as an informant spying on the Hutaree.”
The Post Tribune reported that after they were cleared,
“Thomas Piatek [bottom right], his co-defendant Michael Meeks and several of Meeks’ relative filed the lawsuit March 27 in U.S. District Court in Detroit. They claim that FBI Special Agent Stephen Haug lied and gave misleading information that his fellow co-defendants — Michigan State Police Sgt. Sandra Larsen, FBI Special Agent Leslie Larsen and FBI Special Agent Christopher Allen — then used to obtain search warrants for Piatek’s and Meeks’ homes.”
Liberty Unyielding contacted Piatek’s attorney, J. Nicholas Bostic, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Back when the witch hunt began, an article at the Toledo Blade reported that David Stone’s father Ray “believes the accusations made by the government against his grandsons and son are false and that their innocence will be revealed in court.”
And indeed he was correct.
The elder Stone said,
“It’s just got way out of hand. There is somebody behind this who egged a lot of this on,” he said. “I feel that this stuff is untrue. I know my kid and I know my grandkids. This is just blown out of proportion.” [emphasis added]
Watch a local report highlighting David Stone’s wife, Tina, after she was cleared of charges. Her life has changed forever:
On too many occasions, the FBI has aggressively targeted “right-wing” terror groups, only to see their efforts being supremely debunked in court, all at the expense of the taxpayer.
In the meantime, it seems that other groups are not scrutinized at all.
Wayne Simmons and Kerry Patton summed it up at HSToday,
“While the Obama administration – especially the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security – have focused considerable attention to right wing oriented hate groups, some observers believe it has taken a conspicuous hands-off approach toward militant, left-leaning black socialist groups like NBPP and its ilk.”
Other examples can be found at Tavern Keepers.