The group accused of plotting the kidnapping of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also discussed the possibility of kidnapping Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, FBI agent Richard Trask reported Tuesday during a court hearing in Michigan. According to the agent, the group targeted both governors due to their restrictions decreed to contain the coronavirus.
“They discussed possible objectives, choosing governors in office, specifically those of Michigan and Virginia for the confinement orders,” Trask said Tuesday. The FBI obtained this information during a June meeting in Ohio involving several anti-government activists from “four or five” states across the country, Agent Richard Trask said.
The follow-up to the meeting is part of an FBI investigation that has lasted months and that has been based on confidential sources, undercover agents and wiretaps. Last week, 13 men who allegedly participated in the plot were charged with various charges at the state and federal level, including terrorism, gun possession, and conspiracy. The defendants also spoke of storming Michigan Parliament and inciting a civil war, authorities said.
The FBI alerted key members of Northam’s security team during the investigation, but neither the governor nor members of his team were informed for security reasons, Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said.
The judicial hearing held this Tuesday in Michigan has been aimed at reviewing the investigators’ evidence against some of the accused. According to the AP news agency, some of them coordinated to monitor the vacation home of the Michigan governor in August and September.
US President Donald Trump urged his followers on Twitter in April to “liberate” Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota. He also encouraged them to demonstrate in front of state capitols to oppose the approved restrictions with the aim of stopping the spread of COVID-19.