NEW: Judge Finds Cases Against 5 In Whitmer Plot Can Move Forward
NEW (Oct. 16):
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that prosecutors have provided enough evidence to move toward trial for five Michigan men accused of plotting to kidnap the state's governor. A two-day preliminary hearing this week featured testimony by one of the FBI agents who ran the investigation, relying on confidential informants and undercover agents to thwart the purported scheme. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Berens said Friday that the five men's cases can go to a grand jury, which will determine whether to issue indictments. That is required for them to face trial. Berens is also set to consider Friday whether two of the men should be denied bond.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An FBI agent testified during a court hearing in Michigan that members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor during a June meeting in Ohio. Special Agent Richard Trask was part of the investigation that led to six men being arrested and charged last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Seven other men face state terrorism charges. Trask on Tuesday did not name Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, during his testimony in a federal courtroom in Grand Rapids. He said members of anti-government groups from multiple states attended the meeting. Five men accused in a plot to kidnap Whitmer had a hearing on whether they should be detained before trial.
Adam Fox, one of the men, told investigators his plan was to take Whitmer in a boat to the middle of Lake Michigan and just leave her there.
The men also discussed killing police officers. In one video, Brandon Caserta says he planned to take out as many police as he could.
Defense attorneys dismissed the evidence as “big talk.”
But a federal magistrate judge called the Caserta video “chilling” and denied bond for him and two other men. The judge delayed a decision on two other Michigan men. Another was ordered transferred to Michigan from his home state of Delaware.