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May 5, 1:18 PM EDT

Militia members lose appeal in lawsuit tied to FBI probe

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DETROIT (AP) -- Three members of a southern Michigan militia acquitted during a high-profile trial have failed to persuade an appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit against federal investigators.

Mike Meeks, Thomas Piatek and David Stone Jr. say FBI agents violated their constitutional rights during the investigation, which led to charges in 2010. But the appeals court on Tuesday agreed with a Detroit federal judge and upheld dismissal of the lawsuit.

The court says the threshold to show that officials clearly violated constitutional rights is very high. Some family members also sued.

Meeks, Piatek, Stone and four other members of the Hutaree (hoo-TAR'-ee) militia were accused of conspiring to launch a violent rebellion against the government. Judge Victoria Roberts acquitted them in 2012 before jury deliberations.

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