Six charged in plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer.

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Six people have been been charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer that involves links to a right-wing militia group, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced.

The FBI said in an affidavit that the plot involved reaching out to members of a Michigan militia. The criminal complaint states that the alleged plot involved Ms Whitmer and her second home in northern Michigan.

“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” an FBI agent wrote. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbours and spread their message.”

The affidavit was filed on Wednesday hours after FBI agents raided a home in Hartland Township, a community about an hour outside of Detroit.

The criminal complaint identified the six as Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, all of Michigan, and Barry Croft of Delaware.

Ms Whitmer, a Democrat, has been the frequent target of protests by often heavily armed anti-lockdown groups who have launched numerous demonstrations against her efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. She put major restrictions on personal movement throughout the state and on the economy, although many of those limits have been lifted.

Social media

The Detroit News reported that the investigation dated to early 2020 when the FBI learned via social media that individuals were discussing a violent overthrow of several state governments. A confidential paid informant then recorded a meeting between more than a dozen people from several states that took place in Dublin, Ohio.

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

Through electronic communications, two of the alleged conspirators then “agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the US constitution”, the FBI said.

One of the alleged conspirators, Adam Fox, said he needed 200 men to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including the governor, according to the FBI. He said he wanted to try Ms Whitmer for “treason” and would execute the plan before the November 3rd presidential election, the government said.

Later, however, the group shifted to targeting the governor’s holiday home, the FBI said. – Guardian

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