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Judge orders militia members held in jail

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Militia members stay in jail
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: One defendant's attorney says federal judge "will entertain an appeal"
  • Federal magistrate ordered 8 Hutaree militia members be held in jail pending trial
  • Judge says seriousness of charges, flight risk influenced decision
  • Prosecutors say leader Brian David Stone Sr. planned to start own country

Detroit, Michigan (CNN) -- A federal magistrate ordered Friday that eight people accused of plotting to kill police officers as part of a revolt against the U.S. government be held in jail pending their trial.

Magistrate Judge Donald Scheer said he was entering orders of detention for the members of the Michigan-based Hutaree militia.

He said the nature and circumstances of the charges led to his decision. In the detention order for one of those charged, Scheer wrote that each of the eight presents a risk of flight.

"One of the aims of the charged conspiracy was the protracted resistance to federal authority, and the evidence indicates that the defendants have trained in preparation for that mission," he wrote.

"In addition, they have hidden caches of supplies intended for their use in evading capture. I conclude that each defendant has a significant motivation to avoid the punishment prescribed for the crimes charged, and that each presents a risk of nonappearance."

All of the defense attorneys are expected to appeal.

"The judge made a determination that there weren't any factors upon which he could reasonably release" the eight, said James Thomas, the attorney for one of the eight, Joshua Stone.

Thomas said he contacted Federal District Court Judge Victoria Roberts' chambers and that "she's going to entertain the appeal."

Court-appointed defense attorneys argued Thursday that their clients do not pose a threat and should be released while awaiting trial.

Video: Prosecutors present case against militia
Video: Attorneys argue for Hutaree militia
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Alleged militia leader David Brian Stone Sr., 45; his sons, Joshua, 21, and David Brian Stone Jr., 19; as well as the eldest Stone's wife, Tina Stone, 44, have been charged with seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.

Joshua John Clough, 28; Kristopher Sickles, 27; Michael David Meeks, 40; Jacob Ward, 33; and Thomas Piatek, 46, face the same charges.

Piatek, of Whiting, Indiana, is being held in Indiana.

The eight ordered held in Michigan have pleaded not guilty. Conviction on the charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction would carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, while seditious conspiracy and teaching the use of explosive materials each would carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; the firearm charge would carry a mandatory minimum penalty of at least five years in prison, according to authorities.

The government said David Stone Sr.'s plan was to create his own country carved out of four Michigan counties, then defend that country against attack by the "One World Order" army.

The group allegedly planned to incite that attack by making a false 911 complaint, shooting any police who responded, and then attacking attendees at the funerals of those officers with improvised explosive devices.

Prosecutors say militia members talked about burning the homes of the "brotherhood" -- or law enforcement officers -- and shooting officers as they left their houses. Women and children of law enforcement were considered "equal targets," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet said earlier this week.

An undercover agent from the FBI had infiltrated the group, Special Agent In Charge Andrew Arena told CNN on Thursday. The undercover agent helped the group's members build "test" bombs, though Arena insisted that the FBI didn't instigate the activity. He said the idea of creating explosive originated among the Hutaree members.

The only bombs built by the alleged conspirators apparently were made from cardboard tubes containing explosive material -- no shrapnel -- and used in demonstrations and training, prosecutors said, citing videos.

Federal authorities decided to arrest Hutaree members after learning they were planning an exercise in mid-April that might have included violence, Arena and prosecutors said.

The government says it seized 300 pieces of evidence during the execution of a search warrant served March 27, including firearms, explosives, bomb components and shrapnel. But, other than training with legally obtained guns and other items, the evidence presented Wednesday showed a group armed with little more than rhetoric.

The defense attorneys complained that they have little information on the FBI's undercover agent and haven't been afforded the opportunity to question him. They contend that the only basis for their clients' arrests was speaking out against the government.

CNN's Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

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