The men behind an alleged plot to overthrow Michigan’s state government and kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also planned to televise the execution of politicians they saw as tyrants, authorities said in newly filed court documents.
The extremist group considered storming the Capitol building in Lansing, taking hostages and executing them on live television over the course of a week, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.
It was one of several options considered by the suspects before the FBI and Michigan State Police thwarted their plans and arrested them in multiple states last month. Some of the 14 men arrested so far are linked to an obscure paramilitary group known as Wolverine Watchmen and several have ties to an anti-government ideology known as “boogaloo,” which seeks to ignite a second civil war in America, according to prosecutors and the suspects’ social media activities.
The group’s main target was the state’s Democratic governor, whose strict lockdown measures at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic appear to have added fuel to their anti-government beliefs.
Prosecutors said the men also considered abducting Whitmer from her vacation home and trying her for treason before the November elections.
“Grab the f—ing Governor. Just grab the b—h,” one of the key suspects, Adam Fox, said in a recorded phone conversation on July 27, according to an FBI affidavit.
The group also conducted surveillance outside the property multiple times this year and planned to detonate explosive devices during an eventual kidnapping to divert police attention, authorities said.
State and federal investigators began monitoring the suspects in March, when a Wolverine Watchmen member who later became a confidential informant reported being “concerned about the group’s plans to target and kill police officers,” prosecutors said.
In a June 14 phone conversation that was recorded by the informant, Fox was heard saying he needed “200 men” to storm the Capitol building with Molotov cocktails and take hostages, including Whitmer, according to the FBI.
Fox once referred to the governor as “this tyrant b—h” for not allowing gyms to reopen at the height of the pandemic.
Eight of the 14 suspects are facing state terrorism charges as part of the scheme.
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