Six people have been charged with an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to multiple reports.
Court records that were unsealed Thursday revealed that the federal government charged 6 men for plotting with members of a militia group after they were “discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law enforcement components,” according to the Detroit Free Press. The individuals “agreed to take violent action,” a sworn affidavit said. (RELATED: Michigan Anti-Lockdown Protesters Had Their Phone Data Tracked — Floyd Protesters Did Not)
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) October 8, 2020
Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta were all charged by the U.S. District Court in the western district of Michigan with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, a criminal complaint says according to the report. They could face up to life in prison, the New York Times reported.
The FBI became aware of the discussions through social media in early 2020, the Free Press report said. According to the affidavit, group members talked about “murdering … tyrants” and using 200 men to kidnap hostages, including Whitmer, from the Lansing Capitol Building. They wanted to put the governor on trial for treason and allegedly met for training exercises this year, the Detroit Free Press reported.
FBI special agent Richard J. Trask II said in the criminal complaint that the men had Whitmer’s vacation home under surveillance in August and September, the New York Times reported. The FBI also believed that the men were seeking to buy explosives sometime during the week of October 4 – 10 to use in the kidnapping, Trask said.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider in the Eastern District of Michigan called the allegations “deeply disturbing.”
“All of us can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever result in violence,” Schneider said according to the Free Press. “We owe our thanks to the men and women of law enforcement who uncovered this plot and have worked so hard to protect Gov. Whitmer.”
A meeting took place in Dublin, Ohio June 6 where more than 12 people met to discuss creating a self-sufficient society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights, the report said. A Michigan militia group was contacted after the meeting.
Whitmer has also been the target of weekly protests against her coronavirus restrictions, which began in mid-April after she enacted some of the strictest lockdowns in the country. Whitmer said that she received threats of violence during the protests and was concerned about some people carrying weapons.