BELLAIRE, Michigan — Thirteen people face charges after investigators said they participated in a plot to abduct and execute Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The charges were announced Thursday after a coordinated effort by state, local and federal law enforcement agents. Six of people arrested in the case face federal charges while seven others face state cases.
Three men — Eric Molitor, William Null and Michael Null, each were charged with a terrorist act and felony weapons offense — appeared in video arraignments Thursday morning in Antrim County.
Antrim County Prosecutor Jim Rossiter observed the hearing while Gregory Townsend, an assistant Michigan attorney general, represented the state.
Townsend called the men “extremely dangerous,” and requested high bonds.
“They belong to terrorist organizations, groups,” Townsend said. “They’re targeting the government and politicians.”
Federal prosecutors will levy charges against six defendants who are accused of plotting to target law enforcement and attack the state Capitol, and appear to be linked to the militia group Wolverine Watchmen.
A release quoted by the AP outlines the FBI’s efforts in thwarting the apparent plot to kidnap Whitmer by the nine men charged earlier this morning and “overthrow the government.”
The six downstate men — Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta — planned to build bombs and kept watch of Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan, according to AP.
The men plotted for months, consulting and training with militia members, and undertaking rehearsals in August and September, according to the complaint. Four of the six men planned to meet Wednesday to “make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear,” the FBI said in the court filing.
The group was reportedly angry about Whitmer’s mandates issued in response to the coronavirus that shut down businesses.
According to AP, the FBI quoted one of the accused as saying Whitmer “has no checks and balances at all. She has uncontrolled power right now. All good things must come to an end.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel told reporters Thursday afternoon that her office, alongside the Michigan State Police had arrested and charged seven other people they say aided in the plot. The three men arraigned in northern Michigan on Thursday morning were included in that list.
Officials with the MSP, FBI and the Attorney General’s Office held a press conference and joint announcement at 1 p.m. Thursday, which is set to continue with a statement from the governor at 3 p.m.
Livestream it at the Michigan Attorney General’s Facebook page.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
See updates at www.record-eagle.com.