Bond greatly reduced for man linked to Whitmer kidnap plot

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A judge greatly reduced bond to $150,000 Friday for a man accused of allowing his property to be used by an anti-government group plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor.

Joseph Morrison, described as the commander of the Wolverine Watchmen, has been in custody in Jackson County for more than five weeks on a $10 million bond.

Judge Michael Klaeren said the bond was too high. He reduced it and set other other conditions if Morrison is released, including a GPS tether to be worn to track his movements.

Authorities allege members of anti-government paramilitary groups took part in plotting the kidnapping of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, before the election. Six men are charged in federal court. Morrison is among eight others who are charged in state court and believed to be members or associates of the Watchmen.

Assistant Attorney General Sunita Doddamani said Morrison was culpable even if he didn’t “eat, sleep and breathe” the alleged scheme to abduct Whitmer.

“He provided training. He provided land. … He provided material support,” said Doddamani.

But defense attorney George Lyons said Morrison wasn’t committed to violence and had stopped associating with the group charged in federal court.

The same judge reduced co-defendant Pete Musico’s bond to $100,000 on Oct. 23. Musico and Morrison were living together when they were arrested. Bond for a third man, Paul Bellar, was reduced Friday to $75,000 from $500,000.

Investigators said Whitmer was targeted because of her tough measures to control the spread of the coronavirus. A stay-home order was in place for weeks, and businesses were greatly limited.

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