Militias in Michigan: A troubling presence dating back decades
The Michigan Militia was first brought to the spotlight after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. AdTimothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the men who carried out the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, were said to have attended Michigan Militia meetings. Dr. JoEllen Vinyard, a retired EMU history professor, studied the Michigan Militia in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. “That was one of their major worries across all the different groups.”The early meetings of the Michigan Militia were attended by McVeigh and Nichols. April 9, 2013: Hutaree members sue FBI, Michigan State PoliceAdArena said militia groups have always been a concern for the FBI.
Michigan lawmakers take on key role in fight against terrorism
WASHINGTON, D.C. – It’s been going on in plain sight for decades, but since the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol Building, the fight against domestic terrorism has become a top priority. READ: Slain Capitol Police officer honored: ‘We will never forget’Two Michigan Legislatures are taking prominent roles in that fight. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who served as an expert in militias and terrorism for the CIA, announced Thursday she will bring that experience to combating domestic terrorism. “We have been dealing with this rise of extremism and domestic terrorism long before Jan. 6,” Slotkin said. “That will change.”Both Peters and Slotkin pointed to Michigan’s strong domestic terrorism laws and hope their home state will be used as examples for both the good and bad as Michigan take the lead role in a national fight.
Michigan House Speaker questions response to alleged terrorist plot against governor, Capitol
LANSING, Mich. – Controversy at the Michigan State Capitol continues after an already troubling week, amid the alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap the governor. RELATED: Letter criticizes Michigan governor for not warning legislature about domestic terror plotIt’s safe to say it has been a busy and scary week at the Michigan State’s Capitol building, especially after the FBI stopped alleged threats to kidnap the governor. Saturday, Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, spoke out about the threats, “I think the plot was evil, plotted by evil men and it needs to be condemned. Why weren’t we in the Legislature warned of the plot to take hostages at the Capitol? I am also alarmed the Lieutenant Governor recently blamed Michigan Republicans for the evil plans of these unstable men.
Who are the Wolverine Watchmen? What is ‘boogaloo’?
LANSING – Many law enforcement agencies -- local and federal -- are investigating the group behind the terrorism plot to kidnap Gov. While they’re affiliate with the Michigan Militia, the Wolverine Watchmen is its own group with its own goals. The Wolverine Watchmen formed very recently. The boogaloo movement is a loosely organized far-right extremist movement with members advocating for a second Civil War. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the current boogaloo movement was first noticed by extremism researchers in 2019.
A closer look at alleged ‘training ground’ in Jackson County in Gov. Whitmer kidnapping plot
MUNITH, Mich. – FBI agents raided a home in Jackson County early Thursday in connection with the kidnapping plot against Gov. Neighbor Pam Karschnock and many others had been fed up with all the shooting at the home in recent months. But Karschnock and others came to learn Thursday that there was more than guys just firing automatic weapons. Karschnock lives next door to the home on Dunn Road in Munith that was raided. In addition to the shooting, neighbors said they had seen several men in militia fatigues at the home on Dunn Road, as well as hearing more than gunshots.
Jackson County home was alleged ‘training ground’ in plot to kidnap Whitmer
MUNITH, Mich. – Federal and state officials have charged 13 people after uncovering a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow the Michigan government, FBI agents said. 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 now facing terrorism charges.
View: Mugshots for all 14 people charged after FBI uncovered plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer
Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford, was charged with providing material support for terrorist acts, gang membership and a felony firearm violation. Providing material support for terrorists acts, threat of terrorism and gang membership are each 20-year felonies. The felony firearm violations come with mandatory two-year prison sentences, to be served consecutively. You can view mugshots for Bellar, Musico, Morrison, Molitor, Fix and the Nulls below. Brian Higgins was charged after the FBI uncovered a domestic terror plot targeting Michigan Gov.
13 charged in plan to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer -- Here’s what we know
LANSING, Mich. – Thirteen people have been accused of participating in a scheme to kidnap Michigan Gov. READ: 13 charged in militia plan to kidnap Gov. Whitmer as hostage, overthrow Michigan government, feds sayClick the link above for a deep dive into the details of the scheme to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home. The six men charged in federal court were arrested Wednesday night and face up to life in prison if convicted. READ: FBI: Group plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov.
Deep dive into the details of a scheme to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, hold her hostage
Here is a deep dive into the intricate details of a scheme to kidnap Michigan Gov. An FBI informant was wearing a recording device and captured audio of the meeting, officials said. The informant said Caserta asked Franks, “Franks, where you at?” Franks responded, “Same place. Fox took Croft, Garbin, Franks, Caserta, the informant and others aside to brief them on the plan to kidnap Whitmer, FBI agents said. An audio recording revealed one voice saying, “No children" and another saying, “we’re adult-napping,” FBI officials said.
FBI uncovers plan to kidnap Gov. Whitmer as hostage, overthrow Michigan government, feds say
Plan to take Whitmer hostageDuring a phone call with a confidential FBI informant, which was recorded by officials, Fox said he needed 200 men to storm the Capitol building and take hostages, including Whitmer. An FBI informant was wearing a recording device and captured audio of the meeting, officials said. The informant said Caserta asked Franks, “Franks, where you at?” Franks responded, “Same place. Fox took Croft, Garbin, Franks, Caserta, the informant and others aside to brief them on the plan to kidnap Whitmer, FBI agents said. An audio recording revealed one voice saying, “No children" and another saying, “we’re adult-napping,” FBI officials said.
Michigan police working with feds to combat illegal firearms, violent crime
DETROIT – Police in Michigan are working with federal officials to take violent offenders off the street and confiscate illegal guns. Police officers and federal officials are finding illegal guns on many more people. “We don’t want them there if they are illegal,” Schneider said. Nobody would.”As part of Operation Legend, federal officials plan to target violence in America’s most violent cities. Schneider said the reality is that since the expansion of the operation was announced over the summer, local police are working with feds to arrest violent offenders.
Ex-Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith faces up to 21 months in jail following guilty plea
Former Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith is no stranger to a courtroom, but Friday he was just another defendant. United States Attorney Matthew Schneider said the FBI had been investigating Smith for more than a year. “Our state has seen a number of public officials who have sworn to uphold their oaths and then they violated that,” Schneider said. Smith was given a $10,000 unsecured bond, he can’t leave the state without approval and has to surrender his CPL. He faces up to 21 months in custody and a $250,000 dollar fine.
Former Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith pleads guilty to obstruction of justice
Former Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith faced a federal judge Friday in connection to an alleged embezzlement scheme. Smith said he had told three people -- two assistant prosecutors and a friend -- to lie about he use of campaign funds. Smith faces up to 20 years in prison, but will likely serve less than two years on the federal charge. He is also facing charges of embezzlement and racketeering for his spending of $600,000 from an obscure Macomb County forfeiture fund. Of that $20,000, Smith gave the consultant $5,000 and kept the remaining $15,000, which he used for his own personal use.
Feds say Macomb County prosecutor had secret stairwell talk, asked others to lie to FBI about scheme
PREVIOUS: Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith resigns amid corruption chargesSchneider said Smith has been charged with the federal felony charge of obstruction of justice. Prosecutor Smith also urged his associate to lie to a federal grand jury.Schneider said Smith also tried to get the assistant prosecutor who received the $20,000 check to lie about the case. In February 2020, Smith went to that assistant prosecutor inside the Macomb County Prosecutors Office and spoke to them in a stairwell, officials said. He made sure the assistant prosecutor didnt have a cellphone that could record what he said in the stairwell, Schneider said. Smith told the second assistant prosecutor to lie to federal law enforcement officers investigating the campaign fund.