FBI thwarts plan to kidnap Michigan governor, overthrow government

FILE - In this photo Sept. 16, 2020 file photo, provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. According to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday, Oct. 8 six people plotted to try to kidnap Whitmer at her vacation home. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File)

The FBI said on Thursday it thwarted a plot to overthrow the Michigan state government and kidnap its governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and had probable cause to charge six men with a failed operation that involved reaching out to a militia group.

The operation will be announced at a press conference of law enforcement officials at 1 p.m. in Grand Rapids, which will be attended by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the state’s leading federal prosecutors.

The FBI first got wind that a group of individuals “were discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components” in early 2020, according to an affidavit by special agent Richard Trask released by the FBI on Thursday.

The alleged plot included reaching out to a militia group, which was not named in the affidavit.

Trask said there was probable cause to charge six men – Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris

and Brandon Caserta – with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat and frequent critic of Republican President Donald Trump.

In September, Fox posted in an encrypted chat that he did not want a final training exercise to be held in the last week of October because it would not leave enough time to execute the kidnapping before the national election on Nov. 3, Trask said.

“The group agreed to use the time until the final training exercise to raise money for explosives and other supplies,” Trask wrote in the affidavit.