FBI gives evidence to tie militia to Gov. Whitmer plotters

Oct 7, 2022, 1:43 PM | Updated: 2:07 pm
Joseph Morrison appears before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wilson on Wednesday, Oct. ...

Joseph Morrison appears before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wilson on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022 for trial in Jackson, Mich. Paul Bellar, Joseph Morrison and Pete Musico are charged in connection with a 2020 anti-government plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (J. Scott Park/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP, Pool)

(J. Scott Park/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP, Pool)

Prosecutors on Friday played secretly recorded audio from a 2020 meeting in the basement of a vacuum shop as they tried to show jurors how a paramilitary group was connected to a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

It was contemptuous talk about police and politicians in the makeshift home of Adam Fox — who was recently convicted of conspiring to abduct Whitmer — as a step toward kicking off a U.S. civil war, known to extremists as the “boogaloo.” The FBI intervened in the fall of 2020.

Joe Morrison, Paul Bellar and Pete Musico, members of a group called the Wolverine Watchmen, are charged with providing material support to Fox and others, though they’re not accused of directly participating in the kidnapping scheme.

The trial in Jackson, Michigan, is the first in state court since prosecutors won convictions against Fox and three other men in federal court. Testimony began Wednesday.

“I like how you guys roll, man,” Fox said at the Vac Shack, according to the audio recorded by an FBI informant.

Bellar was at the June 2020 meeting, along with fellow militia member Ty Garbin, who eventually pleaded guilty in federal court.

The next day, Bellar told fellow Watchmen that he liked Fox: “The guy’s definitely got the spirit for this,” according to chat messages.

FBI agent Hank Impola testified that talk turned to training. He said Musico invited Fox to gun drills at a rural property in Jackson County.

“Just because I’m a church director, don’t think I won’t shed blood in the name of liberty and defense,” Musico said, according to a message read aloud by the agent.

Morrison was not at the vacuum shop meeting, but he tried to get to know Fox by proposing a double date at a Denny’s restaurant, Impola testified.

Defense attorneys acknowledge that Morrison, Musico and Bellar expressed violent anti-government rants but insist they had cut ties with Fox when the Whitmer kidnapping scheme began to pick up steam during summer 2020.

___

Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Train service in Nigeria capital resumes after deadly attack

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Rail service in Nigeria’s capital city resumed on Monday, eight months after assailants attacked a train with explosives and gunfire, killing seven people and abducting dozens of passengers. Only a handful of passengers and armed security personnel were aboard the first trip from Abuja to neighboring Kaduna state. “We are not […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

‘Torso Killer’ admits killing 5 women decades ago near NYC

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A serial killer known as the “Torso Killer” admitted Monday to killing a 23-year-old woman outside a Long Island shopping mall in 1968 and four other women decades ago. Richard Cottingham was arraigned earlier this year on a second-degree murder charge in connection with Diane Cusick’s death during a trip she […]
10 hours ago
This cover image released by Dutton shows "Three-edged Sword" by Jeff Lindsay. (Dutton via AP)...
Associated Press

Review: Thief forced to steal a vital U.S. defense secret

“Three-Edged Sword,” by Jeff Lindsay (Dutton) After the Cold War, former Soviet spy Ivo Balodis built himself a fortress in an abandoned missile site on an island in the Baltic Sea. There, he has continued to deal in secrets — but for profit instead of for country. Balodis is now in possession of America’s most […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump riot outside the Capitol in Washington, on Jan...
Associated Press

Ex-town official gets 15 days for role in Jan. 6 riot

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts ex-town official seen on surveillance video marching through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced to 15 days in prison for her role in the riot carried out by supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump to stop the transfer of presidential power to Democrat Joe Biden. Suzanne […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Lockheed teams with Israel’s Rafael on laser defense

JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. weapons maker Lockheed Martin Corp. and Israeli defense contractor Rafael on Monday said they will team up to develop a high-energy laser system to defend against aerial attacks. The system will be based on ” Iron Beam,” a laser missile-defense system that Rafael has been developing with Israel’s Defense Ministry. The […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Former New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin leaves a hearing in federal court on Apri...
Associated Press

Bribery, fraud charges dismissed against ex-NY Lt. Governor

NEW YORK (AP) — Bribery and fraud charges against former New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin were tossed out Monday by a federal judge, leaving Benjamin to face only records falsification charges and prompting his lawyers to say it was tragic that the case was ever brought. Judge J. Paul Oetken in a written opinion […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
FBI gives evidence to tie militia to Gov. Whitmer plotters