Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and FBI officials annouced that six people are facing federal charges for plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home. Seven others have been charged with trying to target police and the Michigan Capitol. Those seven are linked to the militia group Wolverine Watchmen.
The FBI said four suspects had planned to meet Wednesday to “make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear.” The FBI quoted one of the accused as saying Whitmer “has no checks and balances at all.”
Informants and undercover agents helped uncover and stop the plot. U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said the suspects are “violent extremists.”
The Attorney General’s office released the following Thursday afternoon, Oct. 10, 2020:
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel – in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andrew Birge, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Michigan State Police – announced today a joint law enforcement effort that, after months of work, culminated Wednesday night in the execution of a series of search warrants and arrest warrants – both in-state and out-of-state – related to acts of terrorism under Michigan state law.
The suspects, now under arrest, are alleged to have called on the groups’ members to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them; made threats of violence to instigate a civil war leading to societal collapse; and engaged in the planning and training for an operation to attack the state Capitol building and kidnap government officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“There has been a disturbing increase in anti-government rhetoric and the re-emergence of groups that embrace extremist ideologies,” Attorney General Nessel said. “These groups often seek to recruit new members by seizing on a moment of civil unrest and using it to advance their agenda of self-reliance and armed resistance. This is more than just political disagreement or passionate advocacy, some of these groups’ mission is simply to create chaos and inflict harm upon others.”
Through the efforts of more than 200 state and federal law enforcement officials – including experts from outside of Michigan – officers executed a series of search warrants and arrest warrants in more than a dozen cities around the state, including, Belleville, Cadillac, Canton, Charlotte, Clarkston, Grand Rapids, Luther, Munith, Orion Township, Ovid, Portage, Shelby Township and Waterford.
“Michigan law enforcement officers are united in our commitment to rooting out terrorism in any form and we will take swift action against anyone seeking to cause violence or harm in our state,” stated Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police. “Michigan residents can assist us in this mission by speaking up if you see suspicious activity or become aware of someone making threats. No tip is too small; don’t wait until it’s too late. Tips can be submitted confidentially 24/7 online at our website.”
In total, 19 state felony charges were filed by the Attorney General against seven individuals known to be members of the militia group, Wolverine Watchmen or associates of Wolverine Watchmen.
Six individuals were also charged by U.S. Attorney Birge with separate, federal felony charges as a result of the execution of the warrants.
The following individuals were charged by Attorney General Nessel as part of the joint law enforcement effort:
Michael Null, William Null and Molitor were arraigned today before Antrim County Magistrate Jessica Allmand. A cash bond of $250,000 was set for William and Michael Null, while Molitor’s bond was send at $250,000, 10 percent. Their probable cause conferences are set for 1 p.m. Oct. 14, and their preliminary exams are scheduled for Oct. 21.
Musico and Morrison are expected to be arraigned at 2 p.m. in Jackson County. Fix is in custody, and his arraignment is pending in Antrim County.
“I’d like to personally thank the law enforcement officers who participated in yesterday’s arrests and those who have assisted with this investigation throughout the past several months,” Attorney General Nessel said. “Your heroic efforts have left the people of this state safer and the instruments of our government stronger. I know that I speak on behalf of Michiganders everywhere when I say we are forever grateful to you for your actions.”
A recording of the joint press conference announcing the charges can be viewed on Attorney General Nessel’s Facebook page.