An FBI agent testified that affiliates of anti-government paramilitary groups associated with a suspected scheme to abduct Michigan’s governor because of the steps they took to curb the spread of coronavirus also planned to kidnap Virginia’s governor.
Hearing of suspects involved in the kidnapping plot
In the review hearing in Grand Rapids against the suspects, Magistrate Judge Sally Berens directed Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta to be in custody without bond until the trial.
She also stated that a date on the bond status of the other two suspects will be decided later. Barry Croft, a sixth suspect was called to be transferred to Michigan to answer the charges.
Berens’ ruling came once a day-long hearing in which FBI agent Richard Trask disclosed new facts about investigators’ use of confidential spies, undercover agents and encrypted communication in the suspected plot to abduct Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, prior to the Election Day.
Virginia’s governor also discussed for kidnapping
“They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask said, remarking that the people, who were at the meeting in Dublin, were not satisfied with the responses of the Governor regarding the pandemic.
About the plans after the abduction, Fox revealed during an interview after the detention that he was thinking about taking Whitmer from her vacation house to Lake Michigan and leaving her there on a dysfunctional boat.
FBI investigation in the kidnapping plot
The FBI got to know of the June meeting when they were investigating numerous anti-government groups, ensuing the months-long case in Michigan that depended on confidential sources, undercover agents and clandestine recordings to halt the supposed kidnapping conspiracy, as per the criminal complaint and Trask’s testimony.
According to Trask, associates of the anti-government groups from different states were at the meeting and as per the complaint, Croft and Fox were also among the attendees.
On Tuesday, an official from Northam’s office, Alena Yarmosky, stated that the FBI kept chief members of his security team in the loop while the investigation ran its course. But the governor himself or any other staff members were oblivious to the same because of the security procedures for highly-classified information. She added that the governor and his family were not in any impending danger and the security protocols were augmented at their place.