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Key charges dropped against Hutaree militia

Hutaree members were accused of plotting to kill a local law enforcement official and attack the funeral procession

By Robert Snell and Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

DETROIT — Seven Hutaree militia members were acquitted Tuesday of conspiring against the United States, a stunning victory in a First Amendment battle that raised questions about the government's handling of a high-profile terror case.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said the government's case was built largely on circumstantial evidence. She said prosecutors failed to prove the Lenawee County-based group planned to wage war against the government.

The judge's order ends criminal charges against five Hutaree members who faced up to life in prison if convicted. Weapons charges will continue against Hutaree leader David Stone Sr. and his son Joshua Stone.

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