DETROIT — Nine Midwestern militia members accused of conspiring against the government must stay locked up while prosecutors challenge an order that would release them until trial, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said it was continuing a temporary stay of a Detroit U.S. district court's decision to free the Hutaree members pending trial.
The ruling made clear the panel wants consideration of the government's appeal to move swiftly.
"Because of the importance of the issues presented, the Clerk of the Court shall establish an expedited schedule for the submission and consideration of any additional materials needed to facilitate appellate review of the merits," the ruling reads.
The decision is at least a temporary victory for prosecutors, who claim the nine are a risk to the public. They're charged with conspiracy to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the government and the attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.
U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts had ordered electronic monitors and set many strict conditions for their release from jail. The militia members have been in custody since late March.
Six of the defendants are from Michigan, including alleged group leader David Stone of Lenawee County's Dover Township, two are from Ohio and one is from Indiana.
Much of the government's evidence made public so far shows militia members talking about killing police officers and attacking officers who turn up for the funeral. No specific plot with specific targets has been disclosed.
Defense attorneys say the conversations may contain repulsive speech and violent scenarios. But the talk also is peppered with laughter, "childish sounds and noises" and "detail-barren" schemes, attorneys Richard Helfrick and Todd Shanker have written.
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