Six arrested in plot to kidnap Michigan governor

FILE PHOTO: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer addresses the media about the flooding along the Tittabawassee River, after several dams breached, in downtown Midland, Michigan, U.S., May 20, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

(Reuters) – Six people have been arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Michigan state government and kidnap its governor, Gretchen Whitmer, prior to the Nov. 3 presidential election, law enforcement authorities said on Thursday.

The alleged plot included reaching out to a militia group, according to an affidavit by FBI special agent Richard Trask released earlier on Thursday.

“Our efforts uncovered elaborate plans to endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, government officials and the broader public,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told a news conference.

The arrested suspects – Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta – could face life in prison if convicted on charges of attempting to kidnap Whitmer, said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andrew Birge.

Whitmer is a Democrat and has been a frequent target of Republican President Donald Trump’s criticism, including over her moves to enforce coronavirus social distancing rules in her state.

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.

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