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Eighth person charged in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer

A Wisconsin man was charged Thursday for his alleged involvement in a plot to raid the Michigan state Capitol building in Lansing and kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that Brian Higgins was arrested in his home state Thursday and will be extradited to Michigan to be arraigned. He is charged with providing material support for an act of terrorism for aiding in the alleged plot to kidnap her.

Higgins, 51, is accused of providing physical assistance in the plan to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home, according to the affidavit. He allegedly provided his night-vision goggles for use while surveilling her home, and used a mounted digital dashboard camera that was in his vehicle to record surveillance of Whitmer's home to aid in kidnapping plans.

Higgins faces up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

The FBI issued a federal affidavit earlier in October stating that there was a Michigan-based militia group, the Wolverine Watchmen, that planned to violently depose Michigan's government and kidnap Whitmer. 

The Michigan attorney general said at the time that, "The individuals in custody are suspected to have identified the home addresses of law enforcement in order to target them." 

At the time of the announcement, six men were charged in federal court in connection with the alleged terror plot, identified as Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta. Their arrest was first reported by The Detroit News. 

Michigan authorities on Oct. 9 set a $10 million bond for two other men involved in the plot. Pete Musico, 42, and Joseph Morrison, 26, were charged with counts of terrorism, gang membership, providing support for planned terrorist actions and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Four additional men were also charged by the state in connection with the plot for felonies of supporting terrorist acts and possessing firearms, with each jailed on a $250,000 bond. Paul Bellar, one of the men, is scheduled to be extradited from South Carolina by Oct. 27.

At least some of the defendants had participated in various demonstrations at the Michigan Capitol building over the past several months.

News of the Wisconsin man's charges comes after an FBI agent testified in court Tuesday that the men discussed similar plans targeting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D). The governors were targeted due to the six men's dissatisfaction with the leaders' response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Associated Press.

Whitmer's state lockdown measures were heavily criticized by conservatives and came under fire from President Trump, who tweeted in April: "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!"

The same day, he issued a similar call to Virginia.

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