Feds want to unseal secret militia testimony in Whitmer kidnap plot

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton/released).

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to unseal secret grand jury testimony in the alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, including inside details about how militia groups all worked together to take down the government, according to a new court filing.

At least one militia member flipped and helped the government build its case, court records have shown, though the latest filing suggests that more militia members may have helped the FBI.

According to documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court, federal prosecutors want to give confidential information in their case to state investigators to help them build their terrorism case against eight suspects who allegedly supported the kidnap plan, and, were plotting a violent attack on the state Capitol.

Prosecutors say they have interviewed witnesses who have described to investigators “their roles within militia groups and their participation in components of the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer, including their presence at key training, planning and reconnaissance “the filing states, noting the government “expects to examine additional witnesses.”

The filing, however, does not say if these witnesses were actual militia members, or, if they were informants embedded in the group.

The federal case involves six men who allegedly plotted to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home, fueled by anger over her lockdown order amidst the pandemic. Another eight men are facing terrorism charges in state court for allegedly plotting to storm the state capitol in Lansing, though federal prosecutors have said these suspects also supported the kidnapping plan.

The state suspects include: Paul Bellar, Shawn Fix, Brian Higgins, Eric Molitor, Joseph Morrison, Pete Musico, Michael Null, and William Null. All are charged with providing material support to terrorist acts.

Federal prosecutors believe their information obtained in grand jury proceedings can help the state bolster its case. While grand jury testimony is subject to secrecy requirements under federal law, a judge may unseal that information at the request of a government if “it shows that the matter may disclose a violation” of a state criminal law.

“Wherefore, the United States respectfully requests authorization to disclose grand jury

testimony for the purpose of assisting the State of Michigan Attorney General’s Office in the prosecution of the above-mentioned state defendants for their alleged violations of Michigan criminal law,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge wrote in the filing.

So far, out of the 14 men accused for various alleged roles in the kidnap plot, one has cut a deal with prosecutors and is scheduled to plead guilty next week.


(c) 2021 the Detroit Free Press

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.