Michigan

Whitmer Kidnap Case: Wisconsin man is 14th charged in alleged plot

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Bridge Staff, Bridge Magazine

October 15, 2020– Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Wednesday announced charges against a 51-year-old man from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, in the alleged conspiracy to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Brian Higgins is the 14th person overall to be charged in the case. He and seven others face state charges, while six face federal ones. Higgins was arrested Thursday on a charge of supporting terrorism, a 20-year felony, on claims he helped surveil Whitmer’s vacation home in Antrim County in northern Michigan as part of the plot.

“Brian Higgins, while on a nighttime surveillance of the Governor’s home, provided the use of his night-vision goggles for the surveillance,” according to an affidavit filed by state police Detective Sgt. Michael Fink.

“Additionally, he used a mounted digital dash camera located in his vehicle to record the surveillance of the Governor’s home in order to aid in kidnapping plans.”

Higgins is set to be extradited to Michigan and face arraignment in 86th District Court.

Law enforcement alleges a group of plotters, some of whom were in a militia-type paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen, planned to hold Whitmer hostage, storm the Michigan Capitol and target law enforcement.

Fink’s affidavit alleges the group “performed tactical training” in Munith, a community in Jackson County, as well as “field training exercises” on private property in remote areas.

The goal: Ignite a “‘boogaloo,’ a term referencing a violent uprising against the government or impending politically-motivated civil war,” according to the affidavit.

The affidavit alleged the Wolverine Watchmen collaborated with the “Michigan III%ers,” a group described by the Anti-Defamation League as “anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement.” The group takes its name from the false belief that only 3 percent of Americans fought in revolution against Britain.

Federal authorities allege the group was led by Adam Fox, 37, of Grand Rapids, who is described in court papers as a ringleader of the alleged conspiracy. 

In court testimony this week, FBI agents claim Fox told them after his arrest he planned to take Whitmer on a small boat in Lake Michigan, disable the engine and leave her there.

“These were very credible, and very serious threats to our elected officials and the public in general, and the swift actions taken by state and federal authorities this past week are nothing short of heroic,” Nessel said in a statement.  

The case continues at 10 a.m. Friday in the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, for the arraignment of Fox and Ty Garbin, 24. They face charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and could serve up to life in prison if convicted. — Mansur Shaheen

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