UNITED STATES— On Thursday, October 8, federal and state officials announced that thirteen individuals were charged in an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is serving as the 49th governor of Michigan. Whitmer previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives and in the Michigan Senate.
As stated by the federal criminal complaint, the alleged scheme plotted to overthrow state governments that were “violating the US Constitution,” which included the state of Michigan and Governor Whitmer. The individuals intended to hold a “treason trial” for Whitmer.
Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that six individuals were charged federally with conspiracy to kidnap, seven others, who are said to be affiliated with the extremist group known as the Wolverine Watchmen, were charged by the state. The six have been identified as Adam Fox, 37, Ty Garbin, 24, Kaleb Franks, 26, Daniel Harris, 23, Brandon Caserta, 32, and Barry Croft, 44. The seven others have been identified as Paul Bellar, 21, Shawn Fix, 38, Eric Molitor, 36, Michael Null, 38, William Null, 38, Pete Musico, 42, Joseph Morrison, 42.
“The individuals in (state) custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war, and engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the capitol building of Michigan and to kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan,” Nessel said at a press conference.
The FBI investigation, according to an affidavit, ignited after talk on social media of a violent overthrow of the government. The FBI used confidential informants, undercover agents and intercepted messages to monitor the men.
Officials say the men wanted to gather “200 [other] men” to storm the capitol and take hostages, one of which would be Governor Whitmer. Their aim was to enact their plot prior to the November presidential election. If they were unable to, they’d allegedly planned to attack the governor at her residence. Officials added that the accused held weapon training in different states, purchased explosives and tactical equipment and tried to assemble a bomb.
Governor Whitmer stated that she “knew this job would be hard, but… never could’ve imagined anything like this.”