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Not guilty pleas for 8 Christian militia suspects

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Not guilty pleas for 8 Christian militia suspects
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

DETROIT (AP) -- Not guilty pleas were entered today in Michigan on behalf of eight members of a Christian militia that prosecutors say plotted to kill police officers and spark a violent revolt against the U.S. government.

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Nine suspected members of Hutaree, self-proclaimed "Christian warriors" who trained themselves in paramilitary techniques in preparation for a battle against the Antichrist, were arrested after a series of raids across the Midwest.

All have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

Prosecutors say the group planned to make a false 911 call, kill responding police officers, then set off a bomb at the funeral to kill many more. An indictment said that after the attacks, the group planned to retreat to "rally points" protected by trip-wired explosives for a violent standoff with law enforcement personnel.

Federal officials said they began monitoring the militia last summer and they believed an attack was planned for April. Court documents said an undercover FBI agent and a cooperating witness were part of the federal probe.

Eight suspects were arraigned today in U.S. District Court in Detroit, including the alleged ringleader, 44-year-old David Brian Stone. The ninth suspect appeared in court in Indiana but no plea was entered.

In Detroit, all stood mute to the charges except Joshua Matthew Stone, David Stone's 21-year-old son, who pleaded not guilty. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Donald A. Scheer entered not guilty pleas on behalf of the others.

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