FBI agent Richard Trask testified during a preliminary hearing that the group was discussing the removal of seated governors based on their “coronavirus-related lockdown orders”.
“They discussed possible targets and took a seated governor, particularly the governors of Michigan and Virginia, over closing orders,” Trask said.
“The understanding at the time was to possibly kidnap a seated governor and remove him from office,” he added.
The FBI received this information during a June 6 meeting in Dublin, Ohio. One person who attended the meeting called in to the authorities “because of concerns about some of the directions the group was being headed and potential violence”
Six people have been charged federally with conspiracy to kidnap and seven other people belonging to the Wolverine Watchmen paramilitary group have been charged by the state, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Governor Northam’s office issued a statement saying the FBI had alerted key members of the governor’s security team throughout the investigation.
“Under the Security Protocols for Highly Classified Information, neither the governor nor any other employee has been notified. At no point has the governor or his family been in any imminent danger. Governor Northam and his family have been in security for some time, and they will remain.” said press officer Alena Yarmosky.
“Here’s the reality: President Trump urged his supporters to free VIRGINIA in April – just like Michigan. In fact, the president regularly encourages violence against those who disagree with him. The rhetoric that comes out of this White House, is serious and potentially fatal. It has to stop, “said Yarmosky.
How the plot came about
The six people charged by the federal government are Michigan-based Adam Fox, 37, Ty Garbin, 24, Kaleb Franks, 26, Daniel Harris, 23, Brandon Caserta, 32, and Barry Croft, 44, of Delaware.
The seven people charged by the state are Paul Bellar, 21, Shawn Fix, 38, Eric Molitor, 36, Michael Null (38), William Null (38), Pete Musico (42), Joseph Morrison (26) terror allegations.
Court documents indicate that the FBI dispatched a confidential informant to Dublin, Ohio, on June 6 to meet with Croft, Fox, and about 13 other people.
“They discussed different ways to achieve this, from peaceful endeavors to violent actions … Several members discussed killing” tyrants “or” taking “a seated governor,” the complaint read.
On June 14, a second confidential informant confirmed that Fox had been introduced to the leader of the group and that they met in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The informant recorded audio conversations with Fox allegedly saying it would take “200 men” to storm the Lansing Capitol and take hostages, including Whitmer, according to the criminal complaint.
Fox allegedly stated they would convict the Michigan governor of “treason” and he said they would execute the plan before the November 2020 election.
On June 20, Fox, Garbin, and others met at Fox’s Grand Rapids store, where attendees met in the basement, which criminal charges reported was accessible through a trapdoor hidden under a carpet on the first floor.
“Attendees discussed plans to attack the Michigan State Capitol, combat law enforcement first responders, and use Molotov cocktails to destroy police vehicles. Attendees also discussed plans for an additional meeting on the first weekend of July that will include firearms would conduct and tactical training “, so the criminal complaint.
The conspirators monitored Whitmer’s vacation home twice in late August and September, the complaint said. Croft and Fox discussed the detonation of explosive devices to distract the police from the vacation home area, according to the FBI.
Earlier this month, Fox confirmed to other members of the group that he had purchased a taser that he had previously discussed for use in the kidnapping act, the court document said. The FBI said Fox, Garbin, Harris and Franks planned to meet on Tuesday to pay for explosives and exchange tactical gear.
CNN’s Christina Carrega, Veronica Stracqualursi and Josh Campbell contributed to this report.