DETROIT (WWJ) – David Stone and seven other members of a group accused of trying to overthrow the government are in Federal Court in Detroit for the start of their trial.
The group, know as Hutaree, will start the trial process Tuesday as attorneys begin to question potential jurors.
WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports that Hutaree member, Stone, is heard talking about the new world order on a tape by an undercover agent in a car, allegedly, rehearsing a speech.
The question at hand is whether the accused were attempting to incite a revolution or was it just talk?
Wayne State University law professor Peter Hennings said the right to free speech will be an issue in the case.
“That’s going to be one of the problems that the government will face, showing that this wasn’t just tough talk by a fringe group, or that was it merely just people expressing their opposition to the government. That it actually rose to the level of a conspiracy to commit sedition, overthrow the government,” said Hennings.
The prosecution contends that the group was training to killing a police officer and then attack the other officers attending the funeral for the officer.
“It would be a serious mistake for any of them (Hutaree) to try to use the trail as a soap box, because that could give the impression that in fact they were conspiring to overthrow the government,” said Hennings.
Defense attorneys say the group engaged in stupid, hateful speech but nothing criminal.
Last September, defense lawyers said there wasn’t enough time to challenge some evidence or study fresh material turned over by prosecutors. They asked for a four-month extension but got nearly five.
Eight members of the Hutaree have been free on bond pending trail.