Prosecution against 8 men in Michigan domestic terror plot continues

Alleged plot included plans to storm Capitol building, kidnap elected officials

This photo provided by the Jackson County Sheriffs Office shows Joseph Morrison. Agents foiled a stunning plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, authorities said Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 in announcing charges in an alleged scheme that involved months of planning and even rehearsals to snatch her from her vacation home. According to an FBI affidavit, Morrison is one of the founding members of the Wolverine Watchmen, which authorities described as an anti-government, anti-law enforcement militia group. (Jackson County Sheriffs Office via AP) (Uncredited, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office)

JACKSON COUNTY, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s prosecution against the eight men facing domestic terrorism charges for an alleged plot to storm the Capitol building and kidnap elected officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, continued Friday with a bond hearing for two of the defendants in Jackson County 12th District Court.

Original story: FBI uncovers plan to kidnap Gov. Whitmer as hostage, overthrow Michigan government, feds say

Joseph Morrison and Paul Bellar appeared in court Friday before Judge Michael Klaeren. Bellar’s bond was reduced to $75,000 cash/surety. He made bond Friday and was released from custody. Morrison’s bond was reduced to $150,000 cash/surety. He remains lodged in the Jackson County Jail. Both defendants are scheduled to appear in court for a probable cause conference at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18.

Morrison, 26, of Munith, is charged with:

  • Threat of terrorism, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine;
  • Gang membership, a 20-year felony that may be served as a consecutive sentence;
  • Providing material support for terrorist acts; and
  • Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively.

Bellar, 21, of Milford, is charged with:

  • Providing material support for terrorist acts – a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine;
  • Gang membership – a 20-year felony, which may be served as a consecutive sentence; and
  • Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively.

Bellar and Morrison were two of several men arrested on domestic terrorism charges after a joint operation by state and federal authorities in early October exposed a plot that included targeting law enforcement officers, threatening violence to incite a civil war, planning an attack on the state Capitol building and kidnapping government officials, including Gov. Whitmer.

Along with Bellar, two other defendants – Shawn Fix, of Belleville, and Pete Musico, of Munith – have made bond and were released from law enforcement custody. Fix posted the required 10 percent of the $250,000 bond on Nov. 10 and was released from custody of the Antrim County Sheriff’s Department. Musico posted his $100,000 bond on Oct. 30 and was released from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Brian Higgins, 52, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, is being extradited to Michigan from Columbia County, Wisconsin. An extradition hearing is scheduled in Wisconsin on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Once he is returned to Michigan, he will be arraigned in Antrim County 86th District Court on a 20-year felony charge of material support of an act of terrorism.

The other three defendants – Eric Molitor, William Null and Michael Null – remain in custody in Antrim County. Additional court dates have not been scheduled.

Future court dates for Antrim County defendants can be tracked online at the court’s website, while those for Jackson County defendants can also be tracked online.

As the cases remain pending, the Attorney General’s office will not provide additional information or details unless as part of official court documents.

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