A 26-year-old man sentenced in Tuscola County this past May for conspiracy to train for a civil disorder and felony firearm will retain that sentence following a Michigan Court of Appeals decision last Thursday.
Justen Watkins of Bad Axe pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 32 months to four years in prison, followed by another two year sentence. Watkins was a member of a white nationalist group called The Base which openly advocates for violence and criminal acts against the U.S. and purports to be training for a race war to establish white ethnonationalist rule in areas of the U.S. According to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, the group also traffics in Nazi ideology and extreme anti-Semitism.
Watkins filed motions in Tuscola County Circuit Court to withdraw his plea months after his sentencing after the court found ambiguity in a plea agreement. However, the Court of Appeals denied the appeal, meaning the original sentence stands.