On Thursday (Oct. 8), 13 people were charged in an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government and kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, according to federal agents.
The men planned to overturn several government officials who were believed to be “violating the U.S. Constitution.” They allegedly visited Whitmer’s home on different occasions and trained with explosives, according to The Detroit News.
The alleged suspects met during a second amendment rally over the summer. State and federal officials say they reached out to members of the Wolverine Watchmen — a Michigan militia — for backup. The conspirators watched Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan and allegedly made plans to kidnap her to a “secure location” in Wisconsin. There, she would stand “trial” for treason.
“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” read the affidavit. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message.”
Six individuals — Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, and Barry Croft — were each hit with a federal conspiracy to kidnap charge, which is punishable by up to life in federal prison. The other seven people who were charged by the state, face a variety of terror and firearm charges.
On Thursday afternoon, Whitmer thanked everyone who helped with this case. “When I put my hand on the Bible and took the oath of office 22 months ago, I knew this job would be hard. But I’ll be honest, I never could’ve imagined anything like this,” she said. “I want to start by saying thank you to our law enforcement. Thank you to the fearless FBI agents. And thank you to the brave Michigan state troopers who participated in this operation.”
She also called out Donald Trump for failing to condemn hate groups and white supremacy in the country. Most recently, Trump told members of the Proud Boys — a far-right group with a history of violent confrontations — to “stand back and stand by” during his first presidential debate against Joe Biden.
“Just last week, the President of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups,” the governor continued. “‘Stand back and stand by,’ he told them. ‘Stand back and stand by.’ Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action. When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.”