Michigan's attorney general emphatically denied that law enforcement officers entrapped the men accused of a plot to kidnap and kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Some of the suspects in the alleged conspiracy have argued in court filings that a confidential informant working for the FBI lured them into the plot, but prosecutors in attorney general Dana Nessel's office denied those claims in a formal response filed Wednesday in state court, reported BuzzFeed News.
"The defendants were not entrapped," prosecutors wrote in the brief. "They unhesitatingly committed the charged crimes with no prodding or encouragement from [the informant] or the FBI agents assigned to this case. Any argument to the contrary is ridiculous."
The response applies to three members of the right-wing Wolverine Watchmen extremist group, Joseph Morrison, Pete Musico and Paul Bellar, who were charged in Jackson County with providing material support to terrorism, gang membership, and felony firearm possession.
All three men filed motions alleging that a confidential informant identified in court records as "Dan" introduced them to alleged ringleader Adam Fox and urged them to collaborate, but prosecutors disputed their claims in the brief.
"Dan and the government agents working with him did nothing but watch and monitor as the relationship between Fox and the Wolverine Watchmen (and these three defendants in particular) moved on from the initial contact phase into a full blown alliance, in which the Wolverine Watchmen were training with, and supporting Fox's plans for politically motivated violence," prosecutors argued.
Five other alleged conspirators were charged in Antrim County, while five others face federal charges.
A sixth federal defendant pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to 75 months in prison after agreeing to testify for the government.