By Staff, Wire reports
The six men who were charged with plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan also discussed abducting Gov. Ralph Northam, according to testimony by an FBI agent Tuesday.
The men, Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta and Barry Croft are part of anti-government paramilitary groups. The Michigan court hearing was to determine whether any of the men could be released on bond.
The kidnapping plots seem to be provoked by anger at COVID-19 lockdown orders in states governed by Democrats.
The plan to kidnap Whitmer was foiled by “investigators’ use of confidential informants, undercover agents and encrypted communication,” according to the Associated Press.
Special Agent Richard Trask shared details about the months-long investigation, noting the defendants had issues with Virginia’s lockdown policies in addition to those in Michigan.
“‘They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,’” Trask said, according to the Associated Press.
Northam was never informed, said Northam’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky. This is the security protocol for highly classified information. Yarmosky said the governor was never perceived to be in imminent danger.
The Washington Post reported that the governor’s staff learned of the threat on Tuesday morning through media reports.
Both the Post and the Associated Press reported that the kidnappers may have been inspired by some of President Donald Trump’s tweets, which have been critical of COVID policies in Michigan and Virginia.
He has posted “all-caps demands that [Michigan and Virginia] be ‘liberated,’ ” the Post reported.
No one has yet been charged with plotting to kidnap Northam. The investigation is ongoing.
- The Associated Press, Washington Post and Grace Mamon contributed to this story.