Defense for Wolverine Watchmen argue violent rhetoric against Gov. Whitmer was satirical

Defense argues plans were just talk

JACKSON, Mich. – Defense 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 -- claim their clients never intended to act violently.

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

Thursday was day two of the hearing for the three members of the Wolverine Watchmen. The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to send the men to trial in the domestic terrorism plot against Whitmer and storm the Lansing Capitol Building.

The defense attorneys used a series of different arguments Thursday.

READ: Defense attorneys rebut FBI claims in alleged plot against Gov. Whitmer

They argued that the posts online using violent rhetoric were satirical and not intended to be taken seriously.

Another defense was that the firearms and military-style training was not meant for attacking politicians, but for home defense.

There was also the defense that members of the group were acting defensively. In one instance, the group traveled to Detroit with the intent of watching protests over police brutality and used names of Black Americans shot by police to appear supporting of the protesters.



Henrik Impola, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation said his informant inside the group explained the training tactics included things like ambushes, breaching double doors -- like those used at the Capitol -- and attacking convoys -- like the ones used by the governor.

Prosecutors worked against the narrative that the group was behaving like other similar militia groups.

“In my training experience with traditional militias, nonviolent militias, they don’t have the type of specificity in their target as is being practiced by the Wolverine watchmen,” Impola said.



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