By Danielle Wallace | Fox News
Members of anti-government paramilitary groups allegedly discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified Tuesday during a court hearing in Michigan.
Special Agent Richard Trask was part of the investigation that led to six men being arrested and charged last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Seven other men face state terrorism charges.
Trask did not name Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, during his testimony in a federal courtroom in Grand Rapids. He said members of anti-government groups from multiple states attended the meeting.
WHITMER KIDNAP PLOT PUTS MICHIGAN SHERIFF IN HOT SEAT OVER CORONAVIRUS PROTEST LINK
“They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask said. He said the people at the meeting were unhappy with the governors’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trask did not discuss further planning aimed at Northam.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Berens oversaw the bail and detention proceeding in Grand Rapids for Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta — all Michigan residents. The sixth man, Barry Croft, was being held in Delaware.
Six men are facing federal charges in connection to an alleged miltia plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The FBI made arrests last week after using confidential sources, undercover agents and clandestine recordings to foil the alleged kidnapping conspiracy. Some defendants had conducted coordinated surveillance of Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan in August and September, according to a criminal complaint.
WHITMER STILL CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY BECAUSE OF WHITE HOUSE ‘RHETORIC’
The men were trying to retaliate against the Democratic governor due to her “uncontrolled power” amid the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said. They said four of the men had planned to meet last week to pay for explosives and exchange tactical gear.
Whitmer, who was once considered as Joe Biden’s running mate and is nearly halfway through a four-year term, has been both praised for her response to the virus outbreak and also sharply criticized by Republican lawmakers and people in conservative areas of the state. The Capitol has been the site of many rallies, including ones with gun-toting protesters calling for her ouster.
Whitmer put major restrictions on personal movement and the economy, although many of those limits have been lifted since spring.
Fox, who was described as one of the leaders, was living in the basement of a vacuum shop in Grand Rapids. The owner said Fox was opposed to wearing a mask during the pandemic and kept firearms and ammunition at the store.
Separately, seven members of militia group Wolverine Watchmen, or associates of Wolverine Watchmen, face state felony charges for allegedly seeking to storm the Michigan Capitol and providing material support for terrorist acts by seeking a “civil war.” Those individuals charged in state court are: Paul Bellar, Shawn Fix, Eric Molitor, Michael Null, William Null, Pete Musico and Joseph Morrison.
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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