New evidence in case against Hutaree militia group

February 15, 2012 5:23:23 AM PST
After almost two years in federal custody, a northwest Indiana man is on trial accused of plotting an armed takeover of the government.

In this Intelligence Report: The case against Thomas Piatek and the militia group "Hutaree."

As prosecutors began presenting evidence in a Detroit courtroom Tuesday, the I-Team has learned new details of the government's domestic terrorism case against Piatek. When federal authorities raided Piatek's house in Whiting , Indiana, they found more evidence than was first disclosed.

Hutaree training videos show Piatek and other members of the Michigan-based militia group in commando drills, preparing for a violent overthrow of the government, according to federal prosecutors.

Tuesday, in U.S. district court in Detroit, where the trial is being held, Piatek and six co-defendants heard FBI testimony about how an undercover informant was paid $31,000 to infiltrate Hutaree.

The alleged militia plot was to ambush and kill a police officer, bomb the cop's funeral procession, triggering a wide revolt against America.

Defense attorneys say Hutaree was nothing more than a social club. But when federal agents came to Piatek's house in Whiting, they found more than just an arsenal and box loads of ammo.

According to a government evidence list obtained by the I-Team, authorities seized body armor, night vision goggles and gas masks, along with several warfare training manuals, including one on how to be a sniper, strategies for attacking over urban terrain, and a lengthy munitions handbook with instructions on how to build fertilizer bombs, make dynamite, grenades, mortars, rockets and firebombs.

Prosecutors will use that evidence as a way to convince jurors that Piatek was ready, willing, able and preparing to go to war.

Piatek and the other defendant's contend that they were merely role playing in a fantasy land, wearing camouflage in a pretend world, and had no plan to harm anyone. To dispute that, the government has more than 100 hours of undercover audio and video recordings, and they will play some for the jury.