Two men charged in Whitmer kidnapping plot in court today

Henrietta Brewer
October 17, 2020

A week ago the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that it had thwarted an attempt to kidnap the governor of MI and seize control over the state governing bodies organised by a group of people and members of the local militia, who believed the Democrat Gretchen Whitmer had "uncontrolled power".

The federal preliminary hearing began Tuesday and wrapped up Friday.

Agent Richard Trask also said members of anti-government paramilitary groups from several states discussed abducting Whitmer or Virginia's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, during a June meeting in Ohio.

The men could get up to life in prison if convicted.

This booking photo provided by the Delaware Department of Justice shows Barry Croft.

Seven other men purportedly linked to an extremist paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen were charged in state court last week with providing material support for terrorist acts and possession of a firearm while committing a felony.

She disagreed with defense attorneys who tried to argue that the plot amounted to just "loose talk".

The eight men are members of the militia group Wolverine Watchmen or are associates of the group, the attorney general's office said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler, though, argued that the group repeatedly took steps to protect their communication by using encrypted chat tools and anxious that federal authorities had infiltrated the group. "The fact that he was involved in casing the governor's house at night indicates the seriousness with which he took this endeavor", Berens said in denying Garbin's request for home detention. Attorney General Dana Nessel's office says Brian Higgins, 51, was arrested in Wisconsin Thursday. Berens found that the information presented in testimony and in court documents showed the men had a unified goal - to kidnap Whitmer - allowing the case to move forward.

"It was for the kidnapping of the governor or otherwise countering police interference with that plan", she said. "I personally own 15", Satawa said.

Whitmer, who is almost halfway through a four-year term, has been widely praised for her response to the coronavirus but also criticized by some conservatives. "She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband's boating activities".

MI - particularly the Detroit area - was hit hard early during the pandemic, leading Whitmer to restrict personal movement and the economy.

The state suspects hoped that by attacking the capitol and law enforcement officers, they would "instigate a civil war leading to societal collapse", Nessel said.

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