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Michigan militia jurors to be chosen

Jan. 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM   |   Comments

DETROIT, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The case against so-called Christian militia who allegedly plotted to kill police officers in Michigan is set to begin in Detroit.

Prospective jurors of seven members of the Hutaree militia will answer questionnaires Wednesday in advance of the trial beginning Feb. 7, the Detroit News reported.

A federal grand jury indictment, unsealed in March 2010, accused nine defendants of the Hillsdale County militia, claiming to prepare to battle the forces of the Antichrist, of charges including seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.

One member admitted guilt in a plea deal, and another was declared incompetent to stand trial.

Prosecutors are expected to argue that the group trained and plotted to kill police officers, while defense lawyers will state there was no plot or target and that members were exercising their First Amendment rights.

The extensive pretrial publicity, and the October conviction in Detroit of al-Qaida operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has forced the federal court to employ protective measures in the trial, the News said. Jurors' names will not be released to the public, and they will be identified only by number.

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