5 men charged in domestic terror plot against Gov. Whitmer bound over for trial

Brian Higgins, of Wisconsin, charged with material support of an act of terrorism

From left to right: Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Daniel Harris, Kaleb Franks and Brandon Caserta. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Five of the men charged in an alleged domestic terror plot targeting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have been bound over for trial.

Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were back in court Friday, each facing a federal charge of conspiracy to kidnap the governor.

On Friday, defense attorneys for some of the men questioned an FBI agent who specializes in terrorism, trying to cast doubt on whether or not the men actually would have gone through with the alleged scheme.

FBI officials said the men were captured on audio tapes plotting to kidnap or kill Whitmer and overthrow the state Capitol Building.

The FBI used informants wearing wires to capture what they say is more than 100 hours of recordings proving Fox, Garbin, Franks, Harris, Caserta and Delaware resident Barry Croft should be charged.

A judge ruled that there is more than enough evidence to bind all five Michigan residents over for trial.

14 charged

On Thursday, officials identified Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, as the 14th person overall to be charged in the case.

Brian Higgins was charged after the FBI uncovered a domestic terror plot targeting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (WDIV)

Higgins, Paul Bellar, Shawn Fix, Eric Molitor, Michael Null, William Null, Pete Musico and Joseph Morrison are charged by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Their charges range from threat of terrorism to gang membership to firearm violations.

Higgins, specifically, is charged with material support of an act of terrorism, a 20-year felony.

Friday’s court proceedings

The focus Friday morning in court was on Garbin, a Hartland resident.

Garbin is facing the same long list of federal charges. He’s accused of plotting to launch terror attacks and then kidnap or kill Whitmer.

Ty Garbin (WDIV)

A key FBI agent who focuses on terrorism took the stand to be questioned by Garbin’s attorney.

The Local 4 Defenders learned two informants wore FBI wires as the alleged plot unfolded. Under questioning, the FBI agent said there’s not video to go along with audio recordings.

The defense attorney made a point of saying the FBI can’t tell if Garbin was objecting or walking away from the talks.

FBI officials said the alleged plot was to storm the state Capitol Building or kidnap Whitmer from her northern Michigan vacation home. They also discussed targeting the Virginia governor, according to authorities.

Garbin’s attorney asked if any of the talk actually turned into action. FBI officials said they were able to stop the men before that happened.

14th suspect charged in plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer

Previous coverage

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.