FBI gives evidence to tie militia to Gov. Whitmer plotters

Oct 7, 2022, 1:43 AM | Updated: 1:45 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

FILE - A flyer seeking information about the killings of four University of Idaho students who were...
Associated Press

Idaho police seek car seen near site where 4 students killed

Police are asking for help finding the occupant of a car that was seen near where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death last month, saying that person could have "critical information" about the case.
20 hours ago
murders...
Associated Press

Appeals court upholds most Eyman campaign finance violations

A Washington state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld most of the campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman was found liable for last year.
20 hours ago
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nes...
Associated Press

No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state

Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Tuesday.
20 hours ago
Peter Møller, center, attorney and co-founder of the Danish Korean Rights Group, submits the docum...
Associated Press

South Korea’s truth commission to probe foreign adoptions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission will investigate the cases of dozens of South Korean adoptees in Europe and the United States who suspect their origins were falsified or obscured during a child export frenzy in the mid- to late-1900s. The decision Thursday opens what could be South Korea’s most […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper watches during warm ups before an NFL football game bet...
Associated Press

Panthers owner settles tax fight over failed practice space

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina county where Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper started building and then abandoned a new practice facility has reached a settlement over $21 million in sales tax money given to the NFL team. Tepper will pay back the money, and York County agreed its dispute was totally resolved with […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Deep, 5.8 magnitude quake shakes Indonesia’s capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A strong and deep earthquake shook Indonesia’s capital and other parts of the main island Java on Thursday but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties. High-rises in Jakarta, the capital, swayed for several seconds and some ordered evacuations. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.8 magnitude earthquake […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
FBI gives evidence to tie militia to Gov. Whitmer plotters