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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks in Lansing, Mich., on Feb. 24, 2021.

/The Associated Press

A Michigan judge on Monday ordered three men to stand trial in a plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer over her coronavirus restrictions.

Jackson County District Court Justice Michael Klaeren ruled there was enough evidence and bound over Paul Bellar, Joe Morrison and Pete Musico to circuit court to stand trial.

“The defendants are joined at the hip here,” Justice Klaeren said before announcing his ruling. “The prosecution did a good job in establishing who knew what and when.”

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Arguments were heard Monday by Justice Klaeren about whether the men should face trial after three earlier days of testimony.

The three men are accused of aiding six others who are charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap Ms. Whitmer. Five more people are also charged in state courts.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap Ms. Whitmer by anti-government extremists upset over her coronavirus restrictions.

Justice Klaeren said there was enough evidence for trial on charges of providing material support for terrorist acts, gang membership and using a firearm during a felony.

The judge dismissed a charge of threat of terrorism against Mr. Musico and Mr. Morrison. Mr. Bellar didn’t face that charge.

The threat of terrorism, providing material support for terrorist acts and gang membership charges each are 20-year felonies. Felony firearm charges carry two-year maximum prison sentences.

Each lives in Michigan. Mr. Morrison, 26, and Mr. Musico, 42, are from Munith. Mr. Bellar, 21, is from Milford.

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“We must send a clear message that those who seek to do violence against our institutions of democracy and our elected representatives are not patriots, they are criminals,” Michigan Attorney-General Dana Nessel said in a release. “My office is pleased to see this case move forward and to have the opportunity to hold these men accountable for their actions.”

According to a court affidavit, Mr. Musico and Mr. Morrison are founding members of the Wolverine Watchmen, which authorities described as “an anti-government, anti-law enforcement militia group.”

The Watchmen have met periodically for firearms and tactical training in remote areas “to prepare for the ‘boogaloo,’ a term referencing a violent uprising against the government or impending politically motivated civil war,” state police Detective Sergeant Michael Fink wrote in an affidavit.

Justice Klaeren said Monday that Mr. Bellar, Mr. Musico and Mr. Morrison “individually and collectively wanted to precipitate the violence associated with `boogaloo.’” “Pretty much from Day One, it’s pretty clear the numbers of the Wolverine Watchmen believed in the ‘boogaloo,’ believed in civil war, believed it was coming,” the judge said.

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