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Three men sentenced to prison in Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping case

Three men were sentenced to prison on Thursday after they were convicted of attempting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. File Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI
Three men were sentenced to prison on Thursday after they were convicted of attempting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. File Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Three men who plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer were all sentenced to at least seven years in prison on Thursday.

Pete Musico, Joseph Morrison and Paul Bellar, were convicted in October of providing material support for a terrorist act, as well as firearms charges and membership in a gang.

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Musico, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Before the sentencing, he said in court that he had a "lapse in judgment."

Morrison, the son-in-law of Musico, received at least 10 years in prison and Bellar was given at least seven years in prison.

"First, I would like to apologize for the highly inappropriate comments that I made in the past," Bellar said in court before his sentencing. "I would like to apologize to the governor. I am very embarrassed by the comments that I made."

The men were part of 14 arrested in early October 2020 on state and federal charges linked to an alleged plot to kid nap Whitmer from her summer home in Elk Rapids, Mich. According to court testimony, the men had planned to try her for treason and kill her.

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Prosecutors said the men were either founders or members of the anti-government Wolverine Watchmen militia, which trained other militia members. They said the men trained Adam Fox and Barry Croft, who were both convicted in a federal trial in August for being ringleaders in the Whitmer kidnapping plot.

A member of the group eventually turned into a confidential informant in March 2020 after talk turned to harming law enforcement and eventually public officials.

Morrison posted on social media about "coming for" Whitmer, while also talking about trying to catch her "as she came out the emergency exit" during an armed protest at the Michigan state Capitol in April 2020.

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