Trial Ordered for 5 Suspects in Michigan Gov. Whitmer Kidnap Plot

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
December 8, 2022US News
Trial Ordered for 5 Suspects in Michigan Gov. Whitmer Kidnap Plot
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer takes questions from reporters after speaking at a rally at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Mich., on Nov. 6, 2022. (Sarah Rice/Getty Images)

A trial has been ordered for the five men accused of supporting a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in October 2020, the state’s Attorney General Dana Nessel announced in a statement on Dec. 7.

Michigan residents Michael Null, 38, William Null, 38, Eric Molitor, 36, and Shawn Fix, 38, are accused of providing material support for terrorist acts, which carries a potential 20-year prison sentence and/or a $20,000 fine.

They are also accused of carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, which could see them handed a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively.

Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, was charged with providing material support of an act of terrorism, a 20-year felony.

A pretrial conference has been set for Dec. 19 at 8 a.m. in Circuit Court.

“This bind over sends a clear message that acts of domestic terrorism will not be tolerated,” said Nessel in a statement. “Those who threaten our law enforcement agents and public officials endanger our entire state and must be held accountable. I am pleased to see this case move forward.”

Authorities say the suspects were part of a foiled plot to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, from her vacation home in Elk Rapids in 2020. The Null brothers, Higgins, and Molitor had taken trips to visit Whitmer’s home and its surroundings, according to prosecutors.

Officials said the five suspects had also attended meetings and paramilitary training sessions where they discussed the plot as well as blowing up a bridge near the property to prevent the police from responding.

According to officials, the suspects had planned to target law enforcement before moving on to politicians in general and then Whitmer, and had the goal of “seeing civil war erupt in the United States and the overthrow of existing governments.”

(Left) Barry Croft Jr. (Delaware Department of Justice via AP); (Right) Adam Dean Fox. (Kent County Sheriff via AP)

‘They Knew What They Were Doing’

Attorneys for the suspects have argued that some of the recordings used in the case were not reliable as they came from third parties.

District Judge Michael Stepka is presiding over the case and ruled that a trial in Elk Rapids was justified based on the evidence presented in a preliminary hearing.

“They knew what they were doing,” Stepka said on Wednesday while summarizing testimony and exhibits from the hearing. “They were all involved in the plot to kidnap the governor.”

“In my mind, there is clearly a criminal conspiracy here,” he added.

A total of 14 people were arrested in October 2020 and charged in relation to the kidnapping plot, including six who were charged in federal court and eight who were charged in state courts.

That followed the multiple search and arrest warrants as part of a joint operation with the U.S. Attorneys of the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, the FBI, and the Michigan State Police.

“In total, 19 state felony charges were filed by Attorney General Nessel against seven individuals known to be members of the militia group Wolverine Watchmen or associates of Wolverine Watchmen,” Nessel said in Wednesday’s statement. “Federal charges were also filed against six other individuals.”

However, defendants in the Wolverine Watchmen group had argued that they were entrapped by federal law enforcement because there were at least 12 undercover FBI informants or agents involved in the group.

The alleged ringleaders of the group, Adam Fox and Barry Croft were found guilty of conspiring to kidnap Whitmer in August this year and to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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