The kidnappers who attempted to kidnap Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam, have been arraigned in court.
During the court hearing on Tuesday October 13, 2020, an FBI agent testified that the group charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, also attempted to kidnap Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
The group discussed taking out sitting governors due to their “coronavirus-related lockdown orders, according to FBI agent Richard Trask who testified during a preliminary hearing.
Trask said the group discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically governors of Michigan and Virginia, over shut down orders.
“The understanding at the time was to potentially kidnap a sitting governor and remove them from office,” he added.
The FBI obtained this information during a June 6 meeting in Dublin, Ohio as a person who attended the meeting came forward to authorities “based on concerns (over) some of the directions that the group was headed and potential violence.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was a potential kidnap target, an FBI agent testified.
Not less than 13 people were charged in an alleged domestic terror plot to kidnap Whitmer days before the court hearing of the allegations.
Six people were charged federally with conspiracy to kidnap, and seven other people, associated with the paramilitary group “Wolverine Watchmen,” were charged by the state, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced.
Whitmer and Northam, both Democrats, were among the governors who issued coronavirus-related executive orders in the spring that closed gathering places like gyms, bars and restaurants.
Northam declined to comment on Tuesday afternoon, citing the ongoing criminal investigation, but he did thank the security and police for their work.
His office issued a statement saying that the FBI alerted key members of the governor’s security team throughout the investigation.
Two who served in the Marines are among those charged in plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor.
“Per security protocols for highly-classified information, neither the Governor nor other members of his staff were informed.
At no time was the Governor or his family in imminent danger. Enhanced security measures have been in place for Governor Northam and his family for quite some time, and they will remain,” press secretary Alena Yarmosky said.
In federal court Tuesday, US Magistrate Judge Sally Berens ordered three of the men known as Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta held in detention pending trial.
Trask’s testimony on Tuesday provided further details on the alleged plot first hatched in a social media group and then developed in the basement of a vacuum repair shop.
Adam Fox and Ty Garbin, two other federally charged men, will make bond arguments at a later date, and a sixth defendant, Barry Croft, is currently in Delaware.
Fox allegedly wanted to carry out the kidnapping plot on Election Day and discussed firebombing police vehicles to prevent law enforcement from responding, Trask said Tuesday.
Court documents say the FBI planted a confidential informant to travel to Dublin, Ohio, on June 6 for a meeting with Croft, Fox and about 13 others.
“They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions … Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” according to the complaint.
By June 14, a second confidential informant confirmed that Fox was introduced to the leader of the group and they met in Grand Rapids.
The informant audio-recorded conversations with Fox in which he allegedly said he needed “200 men” to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including Whitmer, according to the criminal complaint.
“The attendees discussed plans for assaulting the Michigan State Capitol, countering law enforcement first responders, and using ‘Molotov cocktails’ to destroy police vehicles.
The discussion was also about plans for an additional meeting during the first weekend of July when they also would conduct firearms and tactical training,” according to the criminal complaint.
Judge has, however, ordered suspects detained pending trial.