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Court Filings Unveil Disturbing New Details in Plot Against Michigan Governor

Court proceedings shed new light on right-wing extremists' plot to kidnap and execute Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The new information says the plotters had also discussed and planned an armed takeover of the Michigan statehouse, complete with a week-long series of public executions of public officials. Another idea was barring egress from the statehouse and setting it ablaze with the intent of killing everyone inside.

In October, the FBI and local law enforcement arrested a total of 13 people (a fourteenth person was later added to the charges and arrested) in conjunction with the plot, as reported in a Today in Security post on 9 October:

“The arrests come after a months-long investigation by the FBI into a social media group that was discussing the violent overthrow of government and law enforcement for perceived violations of the U.S. Constitution.… Members of the alleged conspiracy also conducted surveillance on Whitmer’s vacation home, discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police attention, and inspected the underside of a highway bridge for placing the explosives. The conspirators planned to kidnap Whitmer before Election Day—3 November 2020—and take her to a secure location in Wisconsin to stand ‘trial.’”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Michigan is one of the few states that allows guns in its state capitol building, according to an interview with the Chicago ABC affiliate. Several of the suspects can be seen in video and images from an April event in which armed gunmen entered and protested in the Michigan statehouse. They “were hovering over state senators with long guns, screaming and yelling at them as they were deliberating, as they were discussing legislation and as they were voting, so that remains a big concern to me in a very scary scenario,” Nessel said.

Controversy continues to swarm around Michigan as it struggles with COVID-19 cases that have increased 94 percent and hospitalizations that have increased 89 percent since two weeks ago, according to The New York Times. Whitmer and state health officials issued a “Pause to Save Lives” order on 15 November, which, among other guidelines, closed indoor restaurants and bars and barred nonprofessional organized sporting activities. Yesterday, three Republican members of the Michigan House of Representatives introduced an impeachment resolution against Whitmer. Lee Chatfield, the Republican speaker leading the body, criticized the action.

Roiling unrest related to the pandemic is not limited to Michigan. Nationally, according to The New York Times, the two-week change in COVID-19 stats is alarming: cases have increased 77 percent, deaths 52 percent, and hospitalizations 49 percent. Antigovernment activist Ammon Bundy—infamous for the armed takeover of a federal wildlife sanctuary in Oregon in 2016—launched People’s Rights, an organization to rapidly respond to perceived limitations to civil liberties, which now has seven chapters and more than 27,000 members. And no less than U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said in a speech that the pandemic response has brought “previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.”