On Thursday (Oct. 8), 13 people were arrested in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Two of those individuals — brothers Michael and William Null — have since been charged with providing support for terroristic acts on top of felony weapons charges.
A new report by Fox 17 has revealed that brothers — who have ties to militia groups — have also been seen with Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf. At a rally protesting Gov. Whitmer’s stay-at-home order over the summer, William Null appeared on stage with Leaf, who was a guest speaker at the demonstration.
Speaking with the outlet, Sheriff Leaf said he “never had lunch with them or anything like that” but has crossed paths with them at multiple local rallies. He added that the brothers were always “nice” and “respectful” to him.
Responding to the Nulls’ alleged conspiracy to kidnap the Michigan governor, Leaf said, “I haven’t read everything up on it. I’ve got other duties to do; it wasn’t our investigation.”
“I was shocked,” he added. “I did not see this coming for those guys, but we can’t convict them in the news media; they have a right to a fair trial.”
The sheriff questioned the charges against the brothers and argued that “a lot of people” are angry with Gov. Whitmer over her COVID-19 protocols. According to The Detroit News, the group of men arrested in connection with the alleged kidnapping attempt believed her to be “violating the U.S. Constitution.”
“It’s just a charge, and they say ‘a plot to kidnap’… well, are they trying to kidnap? ‘Cause a lot of people are angry with the governor and they want her arrested,” Leaf said. “So, were they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt? ‘Cause you can still — in Michigan, if it’s a felony — you can make a felony arrest.”
“I’m hoping that’s more what it is,” he continued. “These guys are innocent until proven guilty, so I’m not even sure if they had any part in it.”
Leaf further said he did not regret being seen with the brothers at the demonstration this summer. Both William and Michael Null are currently being held on a $250,000 cash bail and could face up to 22 years in prison if convicted.
See Leaf’s interview below.