Mich. man pleads to firearm charge in militia case

A member of a Midwest militia accused of conspiring to rebel against the government and use weapons of mass destruction has pleaded guilty to a firearm charge, the first plea in the case, the government said Monday.

Joshua Clough, 29, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

During a series of raids in March 2010, authorities arrested Clough and eight other alleged members of a southern Michigan group called Hutaree. Federal prosecutors claim Hutaree members were scheming to kill a police officer, then attack law enforcement who attended the funeral, in the first steps toward a broader rebellion.

The remaining eight defendants are scheduled to stand trial beginning Feb. 7 before U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts.

As part of his plea, Clough acknowledged he was a member of Hutaree and in February of last year participated in a training session that "focused on an upcoming covert reconnaissance exercise," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement. She said Clough "used and carried a firearm" during the training session.

Plea negotiations began in the spring, defense attorney Randall C. Roberts said.

"My client made a decision based upon his situation and we decided to forge ahead with this plea," Roberts said.

Clough was expected to be sentenced in April, his lawyer said.

He faces a mandatory five years in federal prison.