At a bond appeal hearing for members of the Hutaree militia on Wednesday, a federal judge questioned prosecutors about the evidence being used to justify holding all nine defendants until trial, according to a report in The Detroit News.
U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts said that the seditious conspiracy charge requires proof of “imminent lawless action … against the United States.”
Prosecutors urged the judge to look at the full range of evidence, not just particular statements by the defendants.
“Any time law enforcement learns of the intent to harm the unsuspecting public, it can’t simply stand by and wait and hope nothing happens,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet told Roberts.
Defense attorneys argued that none of the defendants have significant criminal histories, and several have relatives willing to serve as third-party custodians if bond is granted.
Roberts made no decision at the hearing, but said she will release a written opinion soon.
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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com