Three men who were convicted of playing supporting roles in a 2020 plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the present Governor of Michigan, were sentenced to multiple years in prison on Thursday, December 15.

The three defendants — Joseph Morrison, his father-in-law Pete Musico, and Paul Bellar — were sentenced at the Jackson County Circuit Court, where they were convicted by a jury in October with charges of gang membership, providing material support for terrorism, and firearm violations.

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More than a dozen men were arrested in October 2020 and charged with federal and state crimes by prosecutors who claimed that the men had participated in a conspiracy plan to abduct the Governor.

Seven of the accused, including Morrison, Musico, and Bellar, have been convicted by a jury or have pleaded guilty to playing roles in the plot. In April, two others were acquitted of federal charges at a trial.

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Who are Paul Bellar, Joseph Morrison, and Pete Musico?

Joseph Morrison, Pete Musico, and Paul Bellar were members of a paramilitary group known as the Wolverine Watchmen. The Michigan State Police allege that the militia group was founded by Morrison and Musico, and they started recruiting members shortly after the release of the HBO series, Watchman, with which the group shared ‘striking similarities’.

Morrison is 28 years old and Musico, his father-in-law, is 44. Beller is the youngest among the three, aged 23.

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Morrison, who was considered the group’s ‘commander’ was given a sentence of 10 to 42 years in prison, while Musico received 12 to 42 years in prison. Bellar, who the prosecutors alleged was the group’s ‘sergeant’, was given the lightest sentence, as he will be facing a prison time of at least seven years.

Morrison and Musico were accused of hosting tactical training sessions on their property in remote Michigan, while Bellar was accused of providing the plans for tactical maneuvers, coded language for covert communication, and ammunition.