(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Three men convicted on state charges in the 2020 conspiracy to kidnap Michigan’s governor all have appeals pending, but prison officials are allegedly preventing them from speaking to their lawyers or accessing court records about their respective cases.
The men—Joe Morrison, his father-in-law, Pete Musico, and Paul Bellar—are all incarcerated in federal prisons outside of Michigan, despite the fact that they were convicted of state crimes.
Bellar’s attorney filed a motion to have him moved back to Michigan, explaining that it’s nearly impossible to handle the appeal with an out-of-state client. According to Bellar’s attorney, Ronald Ambrose, he’s been prevented from communicating with his client or even sending him court records.
“The Michigan Department of Corrections has transferred Mr. Bellar to a Federal prison facility in the State of Pennsylvania. Prior to the transfer, communication with Mr. Bellar was convenient, with counsel being able to hold the aforementioned video conference and his mail was being received,” Ambrose said in a filing last month.
“Since the transfer, however, communication is almost non-existent, with the Federal prison being unable or unwilling to facilitate confidential video and/or telephonic communication and with mail being returned to counsel as being ‘Refused.’”
Ambrose also said being incarcerated out of state prevents his client from accessing a Michigan law library.
Bellar requested the court to hold a hearing as to why he was removed from Michigan, considering the fact he is serving a state-imposed sentence. A state judge is set to hear Bellar’s complaints this Friday.
Musico and Morrison have been experiencing similar issues, according to Musico’s wife, Crystal Musico.
Musico said it’s not clear why her husband is being held out of state.
“We just keep getting told that they can do it, that it has to do with the number of beds or something,” she said. “Our answers are as clear as mud.”
Crystal said that Musico and Morrison’s lawyers will soon be filing similar motions to have their clients transferred back to Michigan.
Meanwhile, the so-called “ringleaders” of the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnap plot—Barry Croft and Adam Fox—also have appeals pending. Justice Department prosecutors have until Nov. 17 to respond to those appeals.
Croft and Fox have been subjected to similarly harsh treatment from the federal prisons system. Initially held in Michigan and communicating with a journalist about their cases, both men were suddenly transferred to supermax facilities in February, and they haven’t been heard from publicly since.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.