Suspects in Michigan kidnap plot also weighed targeting Virginia governor: FBI
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Trask described a planning meeting that included at least two of the co-defendants in Dublin, Ohio, in June, basing his testimony on evidence from confidential informants and encrypted communications from the group.
“At this meeting they discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask said,
The FBI gleaned from the group’s messages that one of the suspects had at one point suggested going to Whitmer’s house to “cap her,” possibly disguised as a pizza delivery man, Trask said.
Internal U.S. security memos in recent months have warned that violent domestic extremists could pose a threat to election-related targets, a concern exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, political tensions, civil unrest and foreign disinformation campaigns.
The arrests last week, in the final stretches of the Nov. 3 presidential campaign, underscored the country’s political polarization as Trump seeks re-election against Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
The defendants in Tuesday’s hearing are among six people facing federal kidnapping charges who could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
Magistrate Judge Sally Berens denied bail for three of the defendants, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta.
Franks’ defense lawyer Scott Graham argued that Franks was a follower, not a leader in any plot, and that he posed no flight risk.