“At that meeting, they discussed possible goals by meeting with the governor, in particular issues with the governors of Michigan and Virginia, based on the blockade orders,” Trask told the court, citing state restrictions imposed to combat proliferation. of the coronavirus.
No one has been charged with plotting to kidnap Northham, but like Whitmer, the governor of Virginia has been the subject of strong criticism by some conservatives over the summer. President Trump has been sharply critical of the two governors, posting a Twitter with demands for all states to “liberate”
Tuesday’s hearing is to determine whether some of those accused of Whitmer’s alleged conspiracy could be released on bail. Separately, seven others have been accused by state officials in Michigan of providing support for terrorist acts.
Trask, an FBI agent, described in great detail how federal agents took care of the accused, especially after a meeting in June in Dublin, Ohio, where self-proclaimed police officers from four or five states gathered to discuss possible plans.
It was at this meeting, Trask said, that the idea of kidnapping governors was raised, with special mention being made of the governors of Virginia and Michigan. One of the suspects, Adam Fox, then returned to Michigan and began recruiting possible accomplices for such a kidnapping, Trask said.
Officials at Northam’s office said they had not been notified of the threat by federal authorities and learned of it on Tuesday morning through media reports.
Fox and others monitored the governor’s vacation home by the lake, Trask said, and at one point Fox told the others he wanted to abduct the governor, take her out of the house by boat, and then “leave her on the boat” so others they will have to come to her rescue, according to the testimony at the hearing.
The hearing began with five of the defendants, who were handcuffed in the courtroom, all except Fox wearing masks for the coronavirus.
Trask also described in detail the ways in which half a dozen suspects repeatedly discussed plans to attack law enforcement. At one point, a member of the group mentioned the possibility of attacking the Michigan State Police buildings.
At another point, one of the defendants, Brandon Caserta, became angry that an uninsured driving ticket had also been stopped.
“An injustice has just happened to me,” Caserta sent a message to the other suspects based on the evidence presented at the hearing, and he wrote that he could find out where the two officers lived and “touch” them, which the FBI agent said. that he is slang for killing them.
Even as the FBI closes the group, defendants are increasingly concerned that they may be investigated by federal agents. At one point, the accused collaborators scanned each other’s bodies for radio signals to see if anyone was wearing a recorder, the agent said. While the scans found nothing, the group’s alleged plot was infiltrated by two informants and two undercover agents, Trask said.
Gregory Schneider contributed to this report.