GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – It was another revealing day in court on Friday (March 18) for the men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Messages and recordings of the members of the Wolverine Watchmen militia were played for the jury. An informant for the FBI testified on Friday. The informant joined the group initially, but turned on them after the talk turned to killing police officers.
He gave a detailed breakdown of the conversations, messages and planning that led them to target Whitmer’s lake house with guns and explosives. The prosecution’s key informant detailing the inner-workings of the plan to kidnap Whitmer using realtor apps and Google maps to find her house.
“Snatch and grab. Just grab the (expletive) governor. Just grab the (expletive) and at that point it’s (expletive) over,” Adam Fox said.
One of the members of the group, Brandon Caserta, appeared to get frustrated with the plot and wrote, “Just cap her at this point (expletive) it. Dome her and then end it. Could recon the house and snipe her. Mug the pizza guy and take his shirt.”
Surveillance of Whitmer’s lake house
The informant also told the jury he went to Northern Michigan with Fox to do extensive surveillance of Whitmer’s lake house. Fox later drew a map of the surrounding area and marked major highways, streets, a boat launch and nearby police outposts.
They also drew up a plan to use flashbangs, a black hood and zip ties to take Whitmer to a nearby boat. They hoped to take her to an island, possibly in Lake Michigan to hold a “trial.” They often said she is already guilty of a “hanging offense.”
They also planned on drawing out and killing members of Whitmer’s security detail. They did training at grounds in Luther last summer to practice an assault on Whitmer’s home, knowing her family would likely be there.
In one discussion one of the defendants, Barry Croft, was caught on recording saying “incendiaries are absolutely necessary.”
The informant said he was not offered payment to be an informant, but did say the FBI partially compensated him for lost wages and bought him a new phone and computer to keep up with the group members. He maintained in court this was all above board.
Recordings show men pushed for race war
The informant also revealed to the jury recordings that show the tangled web of extreme ideologies held by members of the group. While they said they aren’t a white supremacy group, members were both supportive of the Boogaloo movement, which pushes for a civil war or race war.
Brandon Caserta made explicit antisemitic statements. Recordings and messages also revealed that militia members called for killing doctors who were encouraging vaccines.
One member wrote in the groups’ encrypted chat app, “I think some medical fascist are going to need a vibe check real (expletive) soon. Bullet to the face right at their own home. Buildings that manufactured the vaccines. Blow them up.”
Bombs were and improvised explosives at the Michigan Capitol were frequently discussed as the original plan, before the plot to kidnap Whitmer. The group’s leader, Adam Fox, said he was inspired by the Oklahoma City bombing terrorist. Fox told the informant, “if we can’t have our world, they can’t have theirs. Burning it down. Making the world glow.”
The informant spent the day answering questions from the prosecutor.