Men who planned Whitmer kidnapping discussed kidnapping Virginia governor, FBI says

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The men accused of planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a plot busted last week by the FBI also discussed “taking” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, according to multiple reports.

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Special FBI Agent Richard Trask said at a preliminary hearing Tuesday that members of a self-proclaimed militia group that planned to kidnap Whitmer had discussed “taking a sitting governor,” according to the Detroit Free Press. Some members of the group met months ago in Dublin, Ohio, where Northam was discussed as a possible target of the plot, The Washington Post reported.

Trask said the men discussed issues they had “with the governors of Michigan and Virginia, based upon the lockdown orders,” according to the Post. The lockdowns had been enacted to curb the spread of COVID-19 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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“The understanding at the time was to potentially kidnap a sitting governor and remove them from office,” Trask said, according to the Free Press.

Authorities arrested and charged six men last week accused of conspiring to kidnap Whitmer.

>> Related: FBI thwarts militia plot to kidnap Michigan governor

No one has been charged with plotting to kidnap Northam. An unidentified state official told The Associated Press that the FBI did not brief Northam on any potential threat stemming from the June meeting in Ohio.

Trask testified Tuesday at a hearing on the evidence against Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta and whether they should be detained before trial. The men are all Michigan residents.

A sixth man, Barry Croft, was being held in Delaware.

Seven others linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen were charged in state court for allegedly seeking to storm the Michigan Capitol and providing material support for terrorist acts by seeking a “civil war.”

The investigation is ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.