FBI: Group accused of Whitmer kidnapping plot also discussed capturing Va. governor

Special Agent Richard Trask was part of the investigation that led to six men being arrested and charged last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Seven other men face state terrorism charges. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP, File)/Lansing State Journal via AP)

Credit: Matthew Dae Smith

Credit: Matthew Dae Smith

The group of men accused of being tied to an anti-government plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor reportedly also discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor during a meeting in Ohio over the summer, an FBI agent testified in a court hearing Tuesday.

Special Agent Richard Trask was part of the investigation that led to six men being arrested and charged last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Seven other men face state terrorism charges.

ExploreMichigan governor, family had to be moved once kidnap plot was underway

Trask did not name Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, during his testimony in a federal courtroom in Grand Rapids. He said members of anti-government groups from multiple states attended the meeting in June.

Members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified Tuesday. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP, File)

Credit: Bob Brown

Credit: Bob Brown

“They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask said in the Michigan hearing. He said the people at the meeting were unhappy with the governors' response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The FBI says it foiled a plan of six conspirators who intended to violently disrupt the Michigan state government by capturing Whitmer at her vacation home.

Attorney General Dana Nessel later announced additional charges under Michigan’s anti-terrorism law, and the seven men charged are linked to the militia group Wolverine Watchmen. The plot allegedly called for the members of the Michigan militia, according to a federal affidavit filed Thursday, to attempt to identify the homes of law enforcement officers to “target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war.”

Special Agent Richard Trask was part of the investigation that led to six men being arrested and charged last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Seven other men face state terrorism charges. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

They also planned and trained for an operation to attack the Michigan Capitol and to kidnap government officials, including the governor, Nessel said. In total, the seven men received 19 state felony charges for firearms and terror-related acts. The individuals include Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford; Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville; Eric Molitor, 36, of Cadillac; Michael Null, 38, of Plainwell; William Null, 38, of Shelbyville; Pete Musico, 42; and Joseph Morrison, 42, who live together in Munith.

The court filing, which the Detroit News examined, alleges the suspects involved with the kidnapping plot surveilled the Michigan governor’s vacation home and discussed their intentions to take her to a remote area to stand “trial” for her treason prior to Election Day.

“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message.”

Those six men in custody are Ty Garbin, Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta.

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