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Judge agrees to delay release of militia members

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DETROIT (AP) — Prosecutors won a delay in the release of nine Michigan militia members who had been ordered freed from jail to await trial on a charge of trying to wage war against the government.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts gave prosecutors until 5 p.m. Wednesday to declare whether they will appeal a ruling that frees the nine. At that point, the judge will decide whether to further delay their release.

The nine members of the southern Michigan-based Hutaree group were charged in March with conspiracy to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the government and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.

Prosecutors claim they are too dangerous to be free until trial. The judge, however, disagreed Monday and set several strict conditions for their release, including electronic monitoring.

The nine were to have been released Tuesday, but Roberts froze her ruling Monday night.

Prosecutors said they need time to consult with the U.S. Justice Department about a possible appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

If an appeal is pursued, the judge wants prosecutors to explain why they think they will succeed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet asked the judge to delay the Hutaree members' release in part because authorities believe they had planned to attack a police officer's funeral.

He cited the fatal shooting Monday of a Detroit police officer in a drug house. The death had absolutely no connection to Hutaree, but investigators believe militia members planned to bomb a funeral to strike at law enforcement.

Defense attorney William Swor, who represents militia leader David Stone, called that argument "outrageous."


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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