During a hearing Tuesday in a federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for six men charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, FBI Special Agent Richard Trask said that two of the defendants, Adam Fox and Barry Croft, attended a meeting in June in Dublin, Ohio, with militia groups. Seven other men face state-level terrorism charges in relation to the Whitmer plot.
“They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask said, also adding that the people at the Ohio meeting were unhappy with the governors’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, AP reported.
In a Tuesday news conference, Northam said he was not going to discuss the plot and said that he and his family feel safe with the security provided by state police.
“I’m continuing my work for the commonwealth as I would any other day,” he added, AP reported.
In a Tuesday statement, US Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf addressed the attempted kidnappings. “I applaud state and federal law enforcement successful efforts to thwart the plan of violent extremists to kidnap Governor Whitmer of Michigan and Governor Northam of Virginia. Last week, we released the DHS Homeland Threat Assessment that outlines this very threat. There is no place in our society for violent extremists in any form - we will stand against them at every turn,” he said.
During the Ohio meeting, Croft and Fox allegedly discussed various kidnapping plots like storming the Michigan Capitol, eventually deciding to try to kidnap Whitmer at her vacation lake home. The defendants also allegedly carried out military-style training exercises to prepare for the kidnapping and even cased Whitmer’s vacation home twice to determine how to kidnap her.
Five of the six men federally charged in the alleged plot, Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris, were all in court on Tuesday. Croft is being held in Delaware. Detention hearings for Fox and Garbin are scheduled for Friday.