Hutaree Militia Trial Opens Monday

The Hutaree Militia members trial begins Monday. They've been picking the jury for weeks. 48 have been approved and Monday morning both sides will exercise their challenges to end up with a jury of 12 and 4 alternates. The defense says their clients were all talk and their speech is protected under the First Amendment. Most of the evidence comes from two informants who infiltrated the group and made secret recordings. The defense says:

"The recordings tendered thus far make it eminently clear that the group's objectives, even in their darkest light, included (1) exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech ... and (2) training to survive and defend themselves and their families in the event of chaos or an invasion by anti-American forces."


One former terrorism prosecutor says:

“How often do American citizens get charged with sedition or inciting discontent and resistance against big government? Heck, most citizens are discontented with the government,” said Lloyd Meyer, a Chicago lawyer and former terrorism prosecutor. “In this case, no one pulled a trigger and no one got hurt. ... A jury could believe that the feds went after this group with a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel.”

Among the prospective jurors who so far have made it through: A man who thinks undercover work is an invasion of privacy and unfair;

[A] former assistant manager for a logistics company who lost his job two years ago and now spends most of his time caring for a school-aged daughter recovering from a kidney transplant. He said he believes spying on people is an invasion of privacy.

“You’re basically paying someone to lie and deceive people. I don’t think that’s right,” said the potential juror.

He was allowed to stay over a prosecution challenge because he said he could be fair when viewing the evidence. For sure, the prosecutors will use a challenge on him.

Also making the cut: A woman who burned down her ex-husband's house after he allegedly tried to sell their daughter for $60,000. She told the court:

"I'm not a bad person. I was beaten all the time. I just overreacted," she said of the arson.

Also making the cut: two women who suffer from attention deficit disorder.

Among those dismissed: A former bedbug exterminator who uses medical marijuana. I wonder what the reason was for his cut.

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