Juror in kidnapping trial of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is accused of flirting with defendant Paul Bellar

The latest trial in the conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretcher Whitmer took an unexpected turn on Wednesday when a prosecutor accused a juror of flirting with a defendant, and the judge said he noticed, too.

The unnamed woman reportedly eyes 22-year-old Paul Bellar and secretly smiles at him.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Bill Rollstin, told the judge that Bellar, a member of the Wolverine Watchmen, flirted back and shook his fists at the juror.

That claim drew protests from Bellar’s defense attorney, who said the gesture was innocent: It was his client’s birthday and he was holding a couple of skittles, they said Detroit FreePress.

“I noticed her looks. He knows. But he doesn’t wink at her. He’s not doing anything to encourage her,” attorney Andrew Kirkpatrick told the court.

“I don’t think that’s a basis for getting rid of that juror… Maybe she likes him, maybe she doesn’t. There’s no way of telling what’s on the jury’s mind.”

Jackson County District Judge Thomas Wilson said he noticed the juror’s “little grin.”

“I see her looking straight at your client and several times I’ve seen a smile on her face. It’s enough that it gets my attention,” he said.

“I’ll be careful,” he added. “I don’t know if I’m going to kick her out or not.”

The lawyers for Bellar’s co-defendants protested the scenario, branding it sexist.

“Where’s the basis for saying she’s going to lie? Because she is a woman? Because she’s young?” said attorney Leonard Ballard, representing Joe Morrison.

According to the Associated Press, attorney Kareem Johnson, who is defending Pete Musico, said other jurors laughed or smiled during the eight days of a state court hearing.

“It is to judge the witnesses and judge the accused. She needs to check over here,” Johnson said.

Bellar, Morrison and Musico are accused of providing material support to a terrorist attack – essentially helping to train militiamen accused in federal court of directly plotting to kidnap Whitmer.

Two of these men were acquitted and the trial of two others initially ended in deadlock, but they were convicted on retrial.

There were also problems with the jury at the retrial: the name of a juror’s daughter-in-law came up during the first trial as a woman who had smoked weed with one of the defendants, and the defense attorneys received a tip that another juror had ruled as they did would vote before they were selected for the panel.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/juror-in-gov-gretchen-whitmer-kidnap-trial-accused-of-flirting-with-defendant-paul-bellar?source=articles&via=rss Juror in kidnapping trial of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is accused of flirting with defendant Paul Bellar


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: hung@interreviewed.com.

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