After the fed complaint fails, the attorney of a Jackson-area man accused in the Whitmer plot is optimistic

After the fed complaint fails, the attorney of a Jackson-area man accused in the Whitmer plot is opt ...

JACKSON, MI -- In the wake of the federal government's failure to convict four people accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the stakes for similar trial have been raised in state courts across Michigan.

Three Jackson-area men are accused of participating in a plot as to their chances of receiving a "not guilty" verdict, according to authorities.

A trial for Joseph Morrison, Pete Musico, and Paul Bellar is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 10, but the results have been rescheduled from a previous date set for early September.

Daniel Harris, 24, of Lake Orion, was found not guilty last week of four charges, including kidnapping and conspiracy to use a mass destruction equipment. In the same case, Brandon Caserta, 34, of Canton, was found not guilty of conspiracy to kidnap.

The jury was hailed on conspiracy charges against Barry Croft Jr., 46, of Bear, Delaware, and Adam Fox, 38, of Wyoming, which resulted in mistrials for those two.

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While the federal trial and the next Jackson trial are legally distinct, relating to several charges and defendants, attorney Kareem Johnson said the acquittal of Caserta and Harris has made the prosecution of the three local men more confident in their chances of getting a favorable verdict. Johnson is also representing Pete Musico in the next trial.

Johnson compared the verdict of the Grand Rapids trial to a basketball game in which a teammate shoots a three-point goal, motivating the whole team to return on defense.

The ones who have seen all of the evidence have never accepted (in stating) that this was not a crime, Johnson said. Now that a jury of Michiganders has agreed with that for at least two people, it reinforces our belief, and motivates us to work hard and fight hard.

Attorneys Nicolas Somberg and Andrew Kirkpatrick, who represent Joseph Morrison and Paul Bellar, join Johnson as defense counsel.

The prosecution of the upcoming trial has refused to comment, since the investigation is still ongoing.

"Even the state case remains open and ongoing, it would be inappropriate to make a judgment on the federal case," said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in a statement to MLive.

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The trial for the three individuals in Jackson County Circuit Court is expected to last at least two weeks, which is expected to last longer.

In February, the trio appeared in court for an extended hearing, during which their counsel argued the men had been locked by the FBI. on March 1.

The three are among several Michigan men accused of plotting to kill police officers, attack the state Capitol in Lansing, abduct Whitmer, and commit other violence. The FBI in "early 2020" began its investigation into the group after reviewing social media conversations that included discussion of the "violent overthrow" of government and attacks on law enforcement. Charges were filed in October 2020.

Shawn Fix, Eric Molitor, Brian Higgins, Michael Null, and William Null, all of their state co-defendants, are awaiting a preliminary exam in Antrim County. The hearing will be held on August 29 in the 86th District Court.

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