Trial of Whitmer Kidnap 'Plotters' Opens in Michigan

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Four men accused of plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan went on trial yesterday in Detroit, and it immediately became apparent what these violent, dangerous criminals should be tried for.


Excessive partying without a license.

The FBI informant who brought this case to the bureau’s attention made out like a bandit. He got wads of cash and got to party with a bunch of guys who loved beer, pot, barbecue, and guns and not necessarily in that order.

The “Wolverine Watchmen” — the “militia” the men belonged to — apparently did most of their training in bars and backyard barbecues. And they tried to impress one another by attempting to one-up each other in issuing bloodcurdling — and silly — threats.

Detroit Free Press:

“They were going to break into the governor’s home, kidnap her at gunpoint, hog-tie her and take her away,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth told jurors. “This was not just talk. Their actions were louder than and just as disturbing as their words. It is their actions that show just how serious they were about doing this.”

Roth laid out for the jury the government’s case, which seeks to punish extremist behavior that has increased in the U.S. over the years. He told jurors that the Whitmer suspects were part of a growing violent movement in the United States, and that the government caught onto the suspects with the help of a former Wolverine Watchman who got upset by what he was hearing and seeing, went to the FBI and agreed to go undercover.


Christopher Gibbons, who is representing Adam Fox, the accused ringleader, had a slightly different take on the case.

Gibbons told the jury that his client was egged on and used by a rogue undercover informant named Dan, who used to be in the group and was bent on helping the FBI build a case.

“Before Dan came on board, they drank beer, smoked pot and went out back and dumped a couple mags into a tree trunk,” Gibbons told the jury.

According to Gibbons, it was Dan who recorded many of the conversations in the group, who planned events and training exercises, all while getting “envelopes of cash” from the FBI for his work.

“Dan is continuing to provide access (to the suspects), but there’s no crime. The Watchmen aren’t breaking the law. The Watchmen are talking. They’re talking political talk, militia talk. But they’re not breaking the law.”

There were two FBI informants who were booted from the case for unknown reasons, and this “Dan” guy was very, very, very helpful in keeping the plot moving.

But the only question that should be asked is if the defendants broke any laws by their actions. The jury will have to decide whether entrapment is a viable defense, but spouting tough-guy rhetoric and making drunken threats against the governor should not be crimes. Nor should their political beliefs be an issue — no more than the political beliefs of Antifa or Black Lives Matter should be relevant in trials involving their members.


Just because someone likes guns and hates Democratic politicians doesn’t make them dangerous. As the trial goes on, we’ll see the extent that the FBI “managed” this plot and whether it meets the complex requirements for the entrapment defense.


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