Nessel prevails in continued prosecution of Wolverine Watchmen

The prosecution prevailed on critical motions in the case against three members of the Wolverine Watchmen who were allegedly part of a plot to storm the state Capitol building and kidnap elected officials, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Wednesday.

Joseph Morrison, Paul Bellar and Pete Musico appeared in court for a motion hearing before Judge Thomas Wilson of the Fourth Circuit Court in Jackson County.  Judge Thomas granted the following motions filed by the Attorney General’s Office:

• People’s Motion in Limine to Preclude Inadmissible Evidence About Agents

• People’s Motion in Limine Regarding Co-Conspirator Statements

• People’s Motion in Limine Regarding Improper Impeachment

Joseph Morrison, of Munith, is charged with the following charges:  

• Gang membership, a 20-year felony that may be served as a consecutive sentence;

• Providing material support for terrorist acts; and

• Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively.  

Paul Bellar, of Milford, is charged with the following charges:

• Providing material support for terrorist acts, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine;

• Gang membership, a 20-year felony, which may be served as a consecutive sentence; and

• Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively.

Pete Musico, of Munith, is charged with the following charges:

• Gang membership, a 20-year felony that may be served as a consecutive sentence;

• Providing material support for terrorist acts, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine; and

• Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively.

“We must send a clear message that those who seek to do violence against our institutions of democracy and our elected representatives are not patriots, they are criminals,” said Nessel.  “My office is pleased to see this case move forward and to have the opportunity to hold these men accountable for their actions.”

Morrison, Bellar and Musico are three of several men arrested on domestic terrorism charges after a joint operation by state and federal authorities in early October 2020 exposed a plot that included targeting law enforcement officers, threatening violence to incite a civil war, planning an attack on the state Capitol building and kidnapping government officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Some motions were denied with the possibility that they will be addressed at a later time as the issues arise in trial.   

The Antrim County defendants, Brian Higgins, Michael Null, William Null, Eric Molitor and Shawn Fix, in the related Antrim County case are scheduled to appear for a preliminary examination in Traverse City on August 29-September 1.

The trial for Morrison, Bellar and Musico is set to begin October 3.

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