WHITMER PLOT: Jackson judge says 3 men will face trial

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Judge Michael Klaeren of 12th District Court in Jackson has ruled that there is enough evidence for the cases against Pete Musico, Joseph Morrison and Paul Bellar, to move forward to trial court.

The men are charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Judge Klaeren ruled the three men will not face a threat of terrorism charge. They will be charged for gang membership and providing material support to a terrorist act. They will also face a felony firearm charge.

Judge Klaeran explained why the threat of terrorism charge was dismissed:

“In many respects, it’s no different than just thinking the thought to yourself. It’s not going to be blabbed to the outside world,” Klaeren said. “I’m not minimizing any of the defendants or any of their cohorts; they’re all people, I understand that — but the person must be receiving a threat of terrorism. If it’s not going to get out to the public, how can one take the position that it is designed to create mayhem?”

JUDGE KLAEREN

The preliminary hearing is virtual and it comes weeks after the men first appeared in court.

Musico, Bellar and Morrison are among 14 people charged with plotting to kidnap the governor back in October.

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