Thirteen people have been charged by federal and state officials for conspiring to commit violence against law enforcement and kidnap government officials.
“We’re not one another’s enemy. This virus is our enemy.” — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
A criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in federal court says six men — Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, all of Michigan, and Barry Croft of Delaware. — plotted to abduct Whitmer from a vacation home. Attorney General Dana Nessel announced separate terrorism charges against several members of the militia group ‘Wolverine Watchmen’ who she says plotted to attack lawmakers at the state capitol.
Whitmer responded in a press conference Thursday.
“When I put my hand on the bible, I knew this job would be hard. But I’ll be honest, I never could have imagined anything like this,” she said. “We’re not one another’s enemy. This virus is our enemy.”
The Abduction Plot
The criminal complaint said the accused targeted Whitmer and her second home in northern Michigan and were in the plans final stages – even going so far as to test out shrapnel-laced explosives.
“Members of this conspiracy on two occasions conducted coordinated surveillance on the governor’s vacation home,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andrew Birge at a press conference Thursday. “The complaint discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area of the home, and Fox even inspected the underside of a Michigan highway bridge for places to seek an explosive.”
Through electronic communications, two of the alleged conspirators “agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the U.S. Constitution,” the FBI said.
Fox said he needed 200 men to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including the governor, according to the FBI, before switching to her vacation home.
He said he wanted to try Whitmer for “treason” and would execute the plan before the Nov. 3 election, the government said.
Attacking Law Enforcement
AG Nessel says seven more men – affiliated with the militia group ‘Wolverine Watchmen’ are facing terrorism charges.
“The individuals in custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war and engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the Capitol building of Michigan and kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan.”
Unhappy with Whitmer’s executive orders designed to protect residents during the pandemic, armed right-wing militia groups have been a fixture of several protests at the capitol this year.