Accused of flirting, jury excused from Whitmer plot trial

Jackson – A judge has dismissed a young woman from the jury that tried three men in connection with a 2020 kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after attorneys accused her of having an affair with one of the defendants.

Judge Thomas Wilson announced Friday that the woman had been removed from the jury, two days after attorneys raised concerns that the juror had excessive nonverbal communication with defendant Paul Bellar, the Jackson Citizen Patriot reported.

“It didn’t just happen in one day, it happened over several days,” Wilson said of the juror’s behavior. “I decided it was safer to err on the side of caution.”

Wilson said he had never seen such behavior in his nearly 35 years of practicing law. The jury made a good decision, he said.

Bellar, 24, was a member of a paramilitary group, the Wolverine Watchmen. He is on trial with co-defendants Joseph Morrison and Pete Musico. The three men are accused of providing material support for a terrorist act in the state court of Jackson. These people pleaded not guilty and claimed that they were trapped by the FBI informant and his agents.

The defendants’ lawyers objected to the dismissal of the jury.

“There was no verbal communication between the two and the description of the communication is speculative,” Musico spokesman Kareem Johnson said.

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