(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The judge presiding over the state trial of five men accused of being involved in a conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made a factual error in a decision he issued this week.
The judge made his error in a Wednesday decision, which granted government’s request that statements made by the five defendants’ alleged co-conspirators can be admitted as “non-hearsay” evidence.
The men currently standing trial are Michael Null, William Null, Brian Higgins, Shawn Fix and Eric Molitor—all facing allegations of providing material support for terrorism. The “non-hearsay” statements that could be used against them may include recordings of the men who already stood trial on federal charges: Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft and Daniel Harris.
Michigan circuit court judge Kevin Elsenheimer said he’s allowing statements from those men to be used in the upcoming trial because “the independent evidence demonstrates that … Harris, Caserta, Croft, Fox, Fix, Molitor, Higgins, Michael Null and William Null acted in concert and voluntarily agreed to kidnap Governor Whitmer and/or harm law enforcement officers.”
However, this is false. Caserta and Harris were found not guilty by a jury of their peers last April.
The judge’s blunder follows a separate mistake made by prosecutors in December, when they referred to the defendants in a press release as “Wolverine Watchmen,” even though they weren’t actually members of that militia.
An attorney for one of the defendants filed a motion last week about what he referred to as the “prejudicial press release.”
“This press release portrayed all the Antrim County Defendants in an extremely prejudicial false light as other Wolverine Watchmen members have either pled guilty. or have been tried and convicted in other courts in unrelated matters in Michigan … All of these defendants could therefore fall in the same preconceived and prejudicial category, when none of the Defendants were part of the ‘Wolverine Watchman,’” said William Barnett, who is representing Molitor.
Barnett’s complaint about the press release came in a response he filed to the government’s motion to seal case discovery material.
Barnett also wrote that his client seeks an “immediate dismissal” of the criminal matter due to the “deliberate misconduct” committed by the Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office.
Judge Elsenheimer has yet to rule on government’s motion to seal the discovery material, or Molitor’s attempt to have his criminal charges dropped.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.