Plea could hurt Ind. man accused in plot

December 5, 2011 4:36:00 PM PST
A member of a Michigan militia group that was plotting a violent rebellion against the government pleaded guilty Monday. That guilty plea could be bad news for a Northwest Indiana man who is charged in the case.

The militiaman who entered a guilty plea Monday is named Joshua Clough and he is 26 years old. Clough was a member of the "Hutaree" militia. He avoided the more serious sedition charge by pleading to a single gun count but still faces a mandatory five years in prison. Lawyers representing some of the other defendants in the case say they expect Clough to testify.

On a You Tube account operated by Clough, there are assorted video's showing he and others shooting what appear to be automatic weapons. And in another video that opens with an anacronym for "the end of the world as we know it," Clough laboriously explained field survival skills with a rifle at his side.

"I'm not gonna live forever off my backpack in the wilderness, that is quite frankly suicide," he says on the video.

Clough, who's nickname is "Mouse," pleaded guilty Monday to carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, the plotting of a weapons of mass destruction attack on government authorities.

In this plea agreement filed in Detroit, Clough admits that the Hutaree Militia planned to "unlawfully assemble and use explosive bombs against law enforcement and their vehicles." In the plea, he described "military-style training, weapon proficiency drills, covert reconnaissance exercises and the use of explosives" that is seen on this tape of Hutaree training.

It was Clough's possession of an assault rifle on this video that resulted in the gun charge he pled to Monday.

Among the other defendants who took part in this training: Thomas Piatek of Whiting, Ind. Piatek is charged with an armed conspiracy against the government, a revolt that Hutaree was to usher in with a slaughter of police officers.

Federal agents found a stockpile of guns and ammo in Piatek's Indiana home.

He has pleaded not guilty and has been held without bond for more than a year and a half.

Piatek's lawyer said he wouldn't be surprised if Clough becomes a government witness. But the attorney says Clough didn't know Piatek.

Nevertheless, if they all trained together and these videos are shown at trial beginning in February, Clough's testimony could hurt Piatek and the others.

ABC7 asked Piatek's attorney if there could be a plea bargain in the works for him. The lawyer said only if the government gives Piatek a letter of apology. The Hutaree investigation in the Spring of 2010 culminated with raids and arrests in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio and if they're convicted at trial, could send the rest of the militia to prison for life.

Load Comments