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FBI arrests 6 plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer over ‘violating constitution’

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks to media outside of Meridian Elementary School in Sanford, Michigan, on May 27, 2020. (Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/TNS)
October 08, 2020

The FBI stopped a group’s plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to a newly filed FBI affidavit.

The FBI charged six people identified early this year who had “talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” had undergone training and extensive discussions for the plot, and even surveilled Whitmer’s vacation home at least twice, Detroit Free Press reported.

The group’s plot entailed gathering 200 people to storm the Michigan Capitol where they would kidnap Whitmer and other hostages, and take them to a remote Wisconsin location where they would be tried for treason, the affidavit said.

“The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient,” the affidavit said. “They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions. At one point, several members talked about state governments they believed were violating the U.S. Constitution, including the government of Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer.”

The group sought to spread the word to recruit more individuals for their cause, and sought out a militia group in the state – who was not identified in the affidavit – with which they conducted firearm training and tactical exercises. The FBI was already monitoring the militia group, and one of its members became a confidential FBI source who informed agents of the group’s plan to kidnap Whitmer and “target and kill police officers.”

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The six people charged in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan were identified as Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta. Another seven people were charged in a state court.

They were arrested after the FBI conducted a late Wednesday raid at Garbin’s home.

“All of us in Michigan can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever amount to violence. Violence has been prevented today,” Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider told reporters.

Adam Fox, one of the ringleaders of the plot, had called on the group to act against Whitmer, who he called a tyrant.

“Fox referred to Governor Whitmer as ‘this tyrant b—-,’ and stated, ‘I don’t know, boys, we gotta do something,” according to the court affidavit. “You guys link with me on our other location system, give me some ideas of what we can do.”

Brandon Casterta had posted a series of videos to his YouTube account where he promoted anarchist ideology and even posted in front of an anarchist flag.