Michigan Plotters Discussed Grabbing Virginia Governor, FBI Says

Michigan Plotters Discussed Grabbing Virginia Governor, FBI Says

October 13, 2020

The men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as part of a plan to overthrow the state’s government in response to coronavirus lockdown measures also considered taking Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, an FBI agent testified on Tuesday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation got the information in June from an informant who was concerned about the plan and decided to take it to authorities, FBI agent Richard Trask testified at a preliminary hearing in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A preliminary hearing is an early procedural step in a case in which a prosecutor must show that there’s enough evidence to charge a defendant. It’s a rarely used alternative to a grand jury proceeding.

Trask was questioned by prosecutors and defense lawyers at the hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally J. Berens, who will hear arguments on whether to grant bail to five men accused in the plot.

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The governors of Michigan and Virginia came up specifically as the men “discussed possible targets,” Trask said.

All told, 13 men were charged with plotting to overthrow the government of Michigan by storming the Capitol, kidnapping the governor and trying her for treason. The alleged consideration of Northam as a target isn’t included in the part of the plot with which they were charged. That focused on taking Whitmer from her vacation home, blowing up a bridge to stop law enforcement and escaping with the Democrat via Lake Michigan.

At the hearing for five of the accused, two defense lawyers suggested that militia plots are often “big talk” by “wannabe military” that don’t ever get executed.

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