Thirteen charged in ‘plots’ against MI governor

Friday, 09 Oct, 2020

Nessel's remarks came hours after she announced anti-terrorism charges against seven men accused of participating in a conspiracy to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a frequent target of the president's ire, and hold a mock trial for "treason" over her state's COVID-19 lockdown.

The men were arrested when they met this week to pool money to buy weapons and explosives.

The federal filing claims that the plot involved reaching out to the local MI militia and that the six people who have been arrested and charged in the case were seeking to recruit more followers for their cause.

"Fox and Croft in particular. discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area of the home and Fox even inspected the underside of a MI highway bridge for places to seat an explosive", Andrew Birge, US attorney for the western district of MI, told a briefing.

On Wednesday night, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Michigan State Police spent hours raiding a home in Hartland, Michigan - a town about an hour west of Detroit - on Wednesday night, which continued into the early morning of Thursday.

Whitmer blamed the militia plot on the president, claiming he is "complicit" with domestic terrorist groups - highlighting his "stand back and stand by" comments to the Proud Boys during the first presidential debate.

Trump tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" in April. Whitmer then took Trump to task, saying the president "spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division".

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading. Authorities also have not said whether the men were angry about Whitmer's coronavirus orders.

During a press conference on Thursday, Whitmer called 2020 a "a hard year for all of us", and thanked the law enforcement officials who worked to keep her safe. "This virus is our enemy".

As for Trump, Whitmer pointed to his refusal at the recent debate with Biden to condemn white supremacists and "hate groups" like the two MI militias that allegedly targeted her. "Members of the plot said they wanted to complete the kidnapping before the November 3 election, according to the affidavit".

Vice President Joe Biden also tweeted about the plot, except he praised Whitmer for working to "protect her state from a deadly pandemic".

He said that Trump "is giving oxygen to the bigotry and hate we see on the march in our country". "It tells you everything you need to know about the character of the two people on this ballot that we have to choose from in a few weeks".

"The people that we charged are affiliated with this Wolverine Watchmen group", Nessel said, adding that it is a Michigan-based group.

News broke Thursday of the plot to kidnap Whitmer. "America stands united against hate and in support of our federal law enforcement who stopped this plot".

"In early 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation became aware through social media that a group of individuals were discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components", Trask says in the complaint.

"The group talked about creating a society that followed the US Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient", the agent wrote. The group reportedly discussed peaceful and violent methods of achieving their ends, including murdering leaders they viewed as "tyrants" or possibly "taking" a governor hostage.