Federal judge: Surveillance of governor's vacation home shows kidnapping plot was serious

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a reporter's question during a news briefing in Richmond Va. Members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia's governor during a June mee

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a reporter's question during a news briefing in Richmond Va. Members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia's governor during a June mee

Just last week, Whitmer sharply criticized President Donald Trump for "stoking distrust" and "giving comfort to those who spread fear and division", after it was revealed there was a plot to kidnap her.

This booking photo provided by the Delaware Department of Justice shows Barry Croft.

A Wisconsin Dells man has been charged in connection to a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Wisconsin man Brian Higgins was charged Thursday in the state case with material assistance of an act of terrorism.

An FBI agent who testified at a detention hearing for several defendants on Tuesday in federal court described a meeting in OH where he said some of the accused conspirators also discussed ideas for killing Whitmer and a possible abduction of Virginia's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam.

The men faced a preliminary hearing Friday in Grand Rapids to determine if there's enough evidence to move forward with the case.

Berens is also set to consider Friday whether two of the men, Adam Fox and Ty Garbin, should be denied bond ahead of trial. Agent Richard Trask testified that members of anti-government paramilitary groups from several states discussed abducting Whitmer or Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam during a June meeting in Ohio.

"It's loose talk", Scott Graham, an attorney for Franks, said.

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MI has been a hot spot for disagreements over shutdowns and other restrictions Whitmer ordered to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus - actions that allegedly sparked the plot against her. But a federal prosecutor argued "less involved is not that same as not involved".

"Additionally, he used a mounted digital dash camera located in his vehicle to record the surveillance of the governor's home in order to aid in kidnapping plans", it said.

"It was for the kidnapping of the governor or otherwise countering police interference with that plan", she said.

Berens agreed, saying prosecutors didn't have to show the men "signed on a dotted line". Berens found that the information presented showed the men had a unified objective - to kidnap Whitmer - allowing the case to move forward.

"The fact that (the plan) was likely to be unsuccessful or hard to accomplish" isn't relevant to decide whether there is probable cause that they made a plan, she said.

Douglas Parker, the attorney for Harris, said outside the courthouse that he disagreed with the judge's decision. "All I'd say is: Keep an open mind". "She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband's boating activities".

MI - particularly the Detroit area - was hit hard early during the pandemic, leading Whitmer to restrict personal movement and the economy.

The state suspects hoped that by attacking the capitol and law enforcement officers, they would "instigate a civil war leading to societal collapse", Nessel said.

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