Michigan sheriff defends militia members charged in plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer

SHELBYVILLE, Mich. — A Michigan county sheriff defended the men arrested in a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, including a member of the group he appeared with on a stage at a rally earlier this year.

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“I haven’t read everything up on it, I’ve got other duties to do, it wasn’t our investigation," Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf told WXMI. “I was shocked, did not see this coming with those guys, but still we can’t convict them in the media here, they do have a right to a fair trial.”

Leaf was a speaker at a rally in May protesting Whitmer’s stay-at-home order because of the coronavirus. William Null, one of the men charged in the plot, can be seen on stage standing alongside Leaf.

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Null and his brother Michael Null were arrested and charged with providing support for terroristic acts and felony weapons charges for their part in a plot to kidnap Whitmer that has ensnared nearly a dozen other people. The Nulls are being held on $250,000 bond.

“It’s just a charge, and they say a ‘plot to kidnap’ and you got to remember that. Are they trying to kidnap? Because a lot of people are angry with the governor, and they want her arrested. So are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt? Because you can still in Michigan if it’s a felony, make a felony arrest,” Leaf said. “I think it’s MCL 764.4, 764.5 somewhere on there [MCL 764.16]and it doesn’t say if you are an elected office that you’re exempt from that arrest. I have to look at it from that angle and I’m hoping that’s more what it is, in fact, these guys are innocent till proven guilty so I’m not even sure if they had any part of it.”

Leaf does not regret sharing the stage with the Nulls.

“The two gentlemen that I know of from my county, were they involved in that? I don’t know. They’re innocent till proven guilty,” Leaf said. “And we really, really should be careful, trying to try them in the media.”