FBI: Group accused of plot to kidnap Whitmer also talked about targeting Northam

The group of men who were arrested earlier this month after being accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) allegedly also discussed similar plans targeting Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam (D).

An FBI agent testified in court Tuesday that Northam and Whitmer were both discussed as potential targets due to the six men’s dissatisfaction with the governors’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Associated Press.

“They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” special agent Richard Trask reportedly said.

“The understanding at the time was to potentially kidnap a sitting governor and remove them from office,” he added.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Trask also testified that once the accused men centered their plan around Whitmer, they decided to abduct her and place her on “trial” for supposed crimes, telling the court: “The plan was ultimately to take her and place her on trial at a different location.” 

Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Brandon Caserta, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks and Daniel Harris were arrested last week and charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, a charge that carries a sentence of up to life in prison. FBI agents said at a press conference that all six were tied to the Wolverine Watchmen, a Michigan-based militia group that earlier this year protested a session of the Michigan state legislature while carrying rifles, a move that many Democratic legislators said was an act of intimidation.

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

Five of the men are in custody in Michigan, while Croft is being held in Delaware.

Whitmer’s state lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were heavily criticized by conservatives in the state and came under fire from President Trump as well, who tweeted in April: “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

The same day, the president issued a similar call for Virginia: 

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Gretchen Whitmer militias Ralph Northam right-wing extremism
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