An attorney for one of two brothers, Twins, accused of assisting a terrorist conspiracy and monitoring Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s vacation home, says the two have never gone there, a point the Michigan attorney general quickly countered on Wednesday .
Michael and William Null, 38, of Plainwell and Shelbyville, respectively, had changed their $ 250,000 cash loan to allow for prison release after depositing 10% of the loan, cash, or pledge when they posted the Wednesday before Antrim County 86th District Court appeared.
The twins, who failed to show up Wednesday due to attorneys’ rules, are under 14 indicted in connection with a conspiracy to kidnap the governor after anger rose over their novel coronavirus executive orders. Officials have said some of the 14 are linked to the Wolverine Watchmen, an anti-government group.
Wednesday’s trial was a fairly straightforward affair, with the men’s attorneys asking for lower dollar amounts until District Judge Michael Stepka began to explain his thoughts before making his decision.
At this point, Thomas Siver, Michael Null’s attorney, interfered with several concerns and inquiries.
He said that there was a jurisdiction problem and that the case should be thrown away, that the source of the information about the trip to Whitmers Cottage was in error, both as a confidential informant at one point and as an undercover officer at another, and that the Michigan The attorney general’s media office should be gagged in this case.
Siver, along with Williams’ attorney Damian Nunzio, initially requested that the $ 250,000 bond be lowered to $ 20,000. He said the men had no criminal history, deep ties to Michigan, and could not fully prepare for their case because of the glass required to speak through in jail over the novel coronavirus.
But he added the new arguments when Stepka started explaining concerns.
Stepka said the men were accused of having a close association with Adam Fox, a man who was federally indicted in the conspiracy and accused of being their leader, and that at least one twin had traveled out of state to look for himself to meet on the conspiracy. He also said the two had gone out of their way to monitor the governor’s house.
The men were in the area for Luther training, stopped in a Walmart parking lot in Cadillac, Wexford County, and never left Cadillac, Siver said.
“Today you can dismiss this case and clear the defendants immediately because it is a Wexford problem. This is not an Antrim County problem,” he said.
“This is political vengeance,” he later added, saying the men did not support the conspiracy.
However, Deputy Attorney General Sunita Doddamani said the evidence is clear: there are records to show that the men left this parking lot, and both an undercover police officer and a confidential informant were involved.
Given that it was just an allegation, Stepka read the prosecutor’s files and said the brothers had been given the opportunity to return to the campsite from the Walmart parking lot.
“Michael Null replied that they would continue monitoring,” said Stepka. “They were given the option to turn back and stop monitoring, but they agreed to continue.”
Michael Null said he played in the back seat on his cellphone and never communicated with an undercover officer, Siver said.
The problem would require more evidence to be considered, Stepka noted.
He also refused to issue a gag order.
Siver said statements by the attorney general’s media office could jeopardize a fair trial and he would not look into his cases through the media.
However, the attorney general wouldn’t do that either, Doddamani said. She asked Siver to provide examples of specific concerns with information her office released.
The cases are already under a protective warrant preventing attorneys from releasing exhibits, but the information released so far has been court dates – publicly available. Information already, she said.
Doddamani described the Zero Twins as dangerous throughout the hearing. The men were aware of the conspiracy and were well armed, she said.
“These gentlemen had a virtual arsenal of firearms that were taken from their homes,” she said. “We’re talking 30 and 40 cannons apiece. These are very, very dangerous people.”
Nunzio countered that there was no evidence that the men offered or used the guns in connection with the alleged conspiracy, and Siver said there was no evidence that they were armed during their operations.
Ultimately, Stepka refused to lower the bond herself, but offered to make it easier for the twins to have access to their lawyers and agreed to take the 10% option given to another co-defendant, Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville , who was released on bond.
The men are placed on GPS cables.
“I am concerned about the safety of the public and government officials,” said Stepka.
Now the lawyers have to save over the next court date.
Siver and Nunzio said they want the preliminary investigation to take place this month and separately from the other co-defendants in Antrim County. Doddamani plans to keep it in January 2021, including the other defendants.
There are also concerns about protecting the identity of the undercover agent and the confidential informant.
The twins and two others, Fix and Eric Molitor, 36, of Cadillac, are charged with helping to physically monitor the governor’s vacation home in Antrim County.
Officials claim the twins even served as lookouts for Fox and others.
In addition to conspiring to kidnap the governor, Fox is charged with developing initial plans, according to court records, to burn the Michigan Capitol building or to execute the officials inside.
The Zero Twins are charged with providing materials in support of a terrorist attack and carrying a firearm on behalf of this alleged crime.
Expect up to 20 years in prison if convicted of assisting a terrorist attack. Expect two years in prison if convicted of gun charges.
While the attorneys are announcing the date and details of the court’s appearance, some of their six other counterparts on trial at the state level have already received lower bonds.
Pete Musico, 43, of Munith is next on trial, which is slated for a hearing in Jackson County on Friday.