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Federal prosecutors have charged five men with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow the state’s government, Detroit News first reported.
NBC News’ Tom Winter reported that the five men identified in court documents are Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta.
According to Detroit News, the defendants allegedly reached out to members of an armed, right-wing militia in Michigan.
“In early 2020, the FBI became aware through social media that a group of individuals were discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components. Among those individuals identified were CROFT and FOX,” Richard Trask II, an FBI agent, wrote in a sworn affidavit. “Through electronic communications, CROFT and FOX agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the U.S. Constitution.”
“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” Trask wrote. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message.”
Federal prosecutors are expected to discuss the alleged plot at a press conference Thursday. The news comes after FBI agents and Michigan state police spent hours on Wednesday night raiding a home in Hartland, Michigan. WXYZ reported that the raid was connected to the investigation into Fox, Croft, Garbin, Franks, Harris, and Caserta.
Whitmer landed in the crosshairs of far-right and right-wing protesters after she ordered a lockdown in her state amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic within the US earlier this year.
Shortly after, angry Michiganders expressed anger at Whitmer’s executive order on social media and in nearly 1,200 emails to Business Insider.
In late April, hundreds of protesters converged on the state’s capitol to protest Whitmer’s extension of the stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the virus. At that point, Michigan health officials had reported more than 41,000 COVID-19 cases in the state and 3,789 deaths, with new 980 new cases and 119 new deaths the previous day.
Many of the protesters were carrying guns and were photographed confronting lawmakers in the state’s Senate.
Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs
— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
The protest came days after President Donald Trump called on his supporters to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” in a tweet.
In the aftermath of the protest, Trump refused to condemn the display and called right-wing demonstrators who carried guns into the capitol “very good people.” He also urged Whitmer to “make a deal” with them.
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Source:: Business Insider