DETROIT — Lawyers for nine jailed members of a Michigan militia charged with trying to launch war against the United States can summon a federal agent as a witness at a hearing to determine if they should be released, a judge said.
The decision is significant because defense lawyers believe the agent has information that would weaken the government's claim that the nine are too dangerous to be released from jail while the case moves through court.
U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts planned to hear appeals of another judge's detention order Tuesday.
The eight men and one woman have been in custody since their arrests about a month ago. They were indicted on weapons charges and conspiracy to commit sedition.
The indictment says the nine plotted violent acts against police officers as a steppingstone to a widespread uprising against the government. Defense lawyers, however, say their clients are being punished for being outspoken.
They were not allowed to call a federal agent as a witness during the initial detention hearing in late March. But Roberts ruled Monday night that the agent, whose name has not made public, can be compelled to testify.
An undercover agent infiltrated the group, called Hutaree, and secretly recorded the leader, David Stone, declaring “it's time to strike and take our nation back so that we may be free again from tyranny.”