3 men charged in domestic terrorism plot against Gov. Whitmer appear in court

Prosecutors argue Wolverine Watchmen is a ‘terrorist organization’

The trio is some of the 14 men accused of plotting to kidnap or kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

JACKSON, Mich. – Attorneys for Pete Musico, his son-in-law Joseph Morrison and Paul Bellar -- who are accused of being involved in a domestic terrorism plot to kidnap or kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer -- went head-to-head with state prosecutors Wednesday morning.

The attorneys are questioning the description of the Wolverine Watchmen as a terrorist organization.

READ: Who are the Wolverine Watchmen? What is ‘boogaloo’?

State prosecutors revealed in court how the group ended up on the FBI’s radar in the first place. The FBI said they never heard of the Wolverine Watchmen until one of them created a Facebook Group.

The FBI believes Morrison was a founding member of the Wolverine Watchmen.

READ: ‘We consider him very dangerous’ -- Prosecutors plead to keep Whitmer plot suspects locked up

During the hearing, the FBI said the entire investigation that led to the alleged plot to kidnap or kill Whitmer and launch a deadly attack on the Lansing Capitol Building came from a Facebook page run by a founding member of the Wolverine Watchmen in which they called themselves a militia and a patriotic anti-government group.

READ: Deep dive into the details of a scheme to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, hold her hostage

The FBI called them a terrorist organization and that they began investigating the Wolverine Watchmen Facebook group as members, such as Musico, openly recruited members.

RELATED: A look at group texts between suspects in terrorist plot against Michigan Gov. Whitmer

The FBI agent in charge read from one of Musico’s Facebook posts in court.

“If you actually want to train to be prepared for the group, now would be a better time to start than never,” he read. “We already have a field training day coming up this month. There’s a vetting process before getting into the actual group, but as long as you’re cool, we’re cool.”

An attorney for Bellar said the FBI has nothing on his client.

In January, Ty Garbin plead guilty in court and said he was willing to testify against the others.

READ: 19 details inside Whitmer kidnapping defendant’s guilty plea

About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.