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Michigan governor kidnapping plot suspects also considered abducting Virginia governor, FBI agent tells bail hearing

Michigan governor kidnapping plot suspects also considered abducting Virginia governor, FBI agent tells bail hearing
Some of the men accused of trying to abduct Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also weighed up kidnapping the governor of Virginia and fellow Democrat, Ralph Northam, an FBI agent has said.

During their meeting in Dublin, Ohio in June, the alleged plotters “discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” FBI Special Agent Richard Trask said in his testimony during a bail hearing for the suspects at a US District Court in Michigan. 

The defendants in Tuesday's hearing were among the six facing federal kidnapping charges. They face life in prison if found guilty.

One of the accused men, Kaleb Franks, was deemed a "danger to the community" and denied bail.

The other seven out of the 13 suspects, arrested last week over plans to abduct Whitmer, will be tried in Michigan for their links to the Wolverine Watchmen militia group.

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Trask also revealed that one of the group's members suggested going to Whitmer's house to “cap her.” The plan was to grab a pizza delivery man and seize his uniform in order to reach the governor without raising suspicion.

The agent's testimony was based on evidence from confidential informants as well as the group's encrypted communications.

One of the group’s defense lawyers argued on Tuesday that the plot was little more than “big talk” between “crackpots” and “military wannabes.” Pressed by defense lawyer Scott Graham, Trask was reportedly unable to flesh out key details of the alleged plot, such as how the men planned on moving Whitmer across state lines, and could not reveal how the plan had progressed beyond talk.

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Another defense attorney, Gary Springstead, told reporters outside the courthouse that the use of informants raised questions of entrapment, while Graham claimed that one of the FBI informants was “one of the most active leaders” of the group.

It's believed that the suspects decided to act against Whitmer after she faced criticism from President Donald Trump and other Republicans over introducing harsh restrictions against the coronavirus. In April, Trump took to Twitter to post “Liberate Michigan!” and “Liberate Virginia.”

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