Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hutaree lawyers: Talk was just talk, not a plot

In an effort to bust up the government's case, defense lawyers in the Hutaree militia case this week disclosed some of the government's secret recordings, including a conversation at a wedding in which an undercover agent and two Hutaree members discussed alleged roadside bombs.

The defense disclosed the recording as part of an effort to show that just because militia members were talking about alleged roadside bombs doesn't mean there was any actual plan to build them, use them or violently overthrow the government.

In court documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Detroit, defense attorneys Richard Helfrick and Todd Shanker cited the wedding conversation that took place March 13 -- two weeks before nine Hutaree members were arrested in FBI raids.

During the conversation, an undercover agent urges Hutaree leader David Stone Sr. to obtain road signs so that he can begin constructing alleged improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Agent: "OK. Once we get everything, how fast do you want those?"

Joshua Stone: "We'll have lots of money probably."

David Stone Sr.: "Well, let's do a forecast."

Agent: "As soon as I get (to) it."

David Stone: "Uh, as far as any kind of mass order? ... Uh, early fall."

Undercover agent: "Really? Wow. OK."

The agent then repeatedly asks David Stone whether there is a specific target, in reference to the alleged plot against local officers outlined in the group's indictment.

David Stone: "No.... It's just like when we were talking earlier, we could be anywhere."

Defense lawyers argued the conversation doesn't reveal any real plan to use the weapons, nor does it show a plot to harm local police, as alleged in the indictment.

Helfrick and Shanker are representing David Stone Jr., 20, of Adrian, the adopted son of Hutaree leader David Stone Sr. They are seeking to dismiss Stone Jr.'s case and are requesting a special pretrial hearing where the government must prove that a conspiracy existed and that the defendants were part of it.

The government, however, has argued in court documents that a special hearing would be "burdensome, time-consuming and uneconomical" and that the facts and the indictment "returned by a legally constituted and unbiased grand jury are enough" to proceed to trial.

By Tresa Baldas, Free Press Staff Writer


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