Critical charges dropped against Michigan militia

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By ED WHITE, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has dismissed the key charges against members of a Michigan militia who were accused of plotting war against the government.

The Tuesday decision is an embarrassment for the government, which secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia and claimed members were armed for war in rural southern Michigan.

Detroit federal Judge Victoria Roberts made her decision five days after prosecutors rested their case. Her decision affects all seven militia members who've been on trial since Feb. 13. Only weapons charges remain against two of the defendants.

Prosecutors say Hutaree members were anti-government rebels who combined training and strategy sessions to prepare for a violent strike against federal law enforcement. Defense lawyers said offensive talk was wrongly turned into a high-profile criminal case.

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