LANSING, Mich. – Thirteen people have been accused of participating in a scheme to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow the Michigan government.
Charges were announced on Thursday at a press conference held by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and other agencies.
Click the link above for a deep dive into the details of the scheme to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home. The article includes quotes from undercover audio recordings, code words and much more.
Who is being charged?
Six men were charged in federal court. Seven other men, ones accused of trying to target police and the state Capitol, were charged in state court.
The six men charged in federal court were arrested Wednesday night and face up to life in prison if convicted. A criminal complaint identified the six men as Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, all of Michigan, and Barry Croft of Delaware.
Charges were later announced against the seven other men: Paul Bellar, Shawn Fix, Eric Molitor, Michael Null, William Null, Pete Musico and Joseph Morrison.
Those seven men are facing 19 state felony charges. They are known to be members of the Wolverine Watchmen militia group, or associated with the group.
Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford, was charged with providing material support for terrorist acts, gang membership and a felony firearm violation.
Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville; Eric Molitor, 36, of Cadillac; Michael Null, 38, of Plainwell; and William Null, 38, of Shelbyville, were each charged with providing material support for terrorist acts and a felony firearm violation.
Pete Musico, 42, and Joseph Morrison, 26, who live together in Munith, were each charged with threat of terrorism, gang membership, providing material support for terrorist acts and a felony firearm violation.
Search warrants executed
Search warrants and arrest warrants were executed in several locations within Michigan. Those locations include Belleville, Cadillac, Canton, Charlotte, Clarkston, Grand Rapids, Luther, Munith, Orion Township, Ovid, Portage, Shelby Township and Waterford Township.
Through confidential informants and undercover agents, the FBI gained access to audio recordings, ground messages and secret meetings as the group plotted for months, according to court records
In addition to a Wednesday night raid in Hartland, FBI agents also raided the home of two of the suspects in Jackson County. Authorities said the Munith home served as a training facility for members of the group.
Residents share photos of FBI raids
Residents captured photos of FBI raids in Hartland, Waterford, Milford, Sterling Heights and from multiple other homes in Orion Township.
Federal officials said they picked up the alarming chatter over social media. They saw people discussing taking violent action against multiple state governments that they believed were violating the constitution.
Those involved are accused of holding meetings and recruiting members at a 2nd Amendment rally that was held at the Michigan Capitol.
Michigan lawmakers react to alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer
News of the plot has stunned the Legislature. It has been a tense 2020 in Lansing, with serious disagreements over the Governor’s Executive Orders. The orders were halted last week by the Michigan Supreme Court. Hear from lawmakers in the video below.
Whitmer spoke on Thursday about the case and the danger it posed to herself and her family. She also made a connection between the plot to kidnap her and the words spoken recently by President Donald Trump when asked about white supremacists in last week’s debate