Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wears a mask with the word "vote" displayed on the front during a roundtable discussion on healthcare, Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020, in Kalamazoo, Mich. The arrest of a group of anti-government vigilantes in a kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer presents a new twist in the 2020 political fight for the battleground state. (Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News via AP)/

Another suspect charged in alleged Michigan kidnap plot

Another suspect charged in alleged Michigan kidnap plot

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s attorney general charged an eighth person Thursday in what authorities have described as a foiled scheme to storm the state capitol building and kidnap officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, was charged with material support of an act of terrorism, Attorney General Dana Nessel said. If convicted, Higgins could get up to 20 years in prison.

Seven men purportedly linked to an extremist paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen were charged in state court last week with providing material support for terrorist acts and possession of a firearm while committing a felony.

Federal charges were filed against six others in the alleged conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat.

“While the political rhetoric in our nation may at times be divisive, I am encouraged by the united front our law enforcement community has displayed in response to this indescribable act of terror,” Nessel said.

“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.”

In statements and court papers, authorities have alleged that members of two anti-government groups took part in plotting the Whitmer kidnapping and other crimes, although some were charged under federal law and others under state law.

“Wolverine Watchmen members together with another group led by Adam Fox, the ‘Michigan III%ers,’ engaged in planning and training for various acts of violence, including kidnapping politicians and storming the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing,” Michigan State Police detective Sgt. Michael Fink said in an affidavit released Thursday.

The document did not identify officials other than Whitmer who might have been targets for abduction. An FBI agent testified during a federal court hearing this week that Whitmer and Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam had been mentioned during a June 6 meeting of groups of extremists from several states, including at least two of the federal defendants.

The affidavit said Higgins assisted four members of the Wolverine Watchmen who took part in surveillance of Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan. Higgins provided night-vision goggles for the mission, the document said.

“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,” it said.

A federal complaint said the groups cased the property Aug. 29 and the night of Sept. 12, and that the plotters had discussed taking Whitmer to Wisconsin for “trial.”

The state suspects hoped that by attacking the Capitol and law enforcement officers, they would “instigate a civil war leading to societal collapse,” Nessel said.

Higgins was arrested Thursday in Wisconsin and will be extradited to Michigan, she said.

A spokesman for Nessel said it was uncertain whether Higgins had an attorney. He was being held in the Columbia County Jail in Wisconsin. The county district attorney’s office said it wasn’t known when he would appear in court there.

A federal judge Tuesday ordered three of the federal defendants held without bond until trial. A bond hearing for two others — including Fox — was scheduled for Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

___

Flesher reported from Traverse City, Michigan.

___

Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

John Flesher And Anna Liz Nichols, The Associated Press

crime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID cases climb in central zone, Red Deer

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in the province reached 3,138… Continue reading

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s municipal affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Energy industry support won’t injure municipalities

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Premier Jason Kenney participated in a livestream on Oct. 17, 2020. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
UCP members pass resolution at AGM calling for privately funded health care option

EDMONTON — Members of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party have narrowly endorsed… Continue reading

“We weren’t sure what to expect with just doing the 50/50. We have been positively surprised with sales so far,” says Craig Fleming, co-chair of the Red Deer Kinsmen Club’s raffle. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Non-profits put their money on 50/50 draws

COVID impacts fundraising events

Student taking a math test. (Pixabay photo)
David Marsden: Students need more testing, not less

Testing has been central to Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s… Continue reading

The Bank of Canada building is seen in Ottawa, Wednesday, April 15, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Companies have modest hiring plans, low wage growth expectations, Bank of Canada says

Companies have modest hiring plans, low wage growth expectations, Bank of Canada says

The TMX Group logo is shown in Toronto on Friday June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
North American stock markets fall on uncertainty over U.S. stimulus before election

North American stock markets fall on uncertainty over U.S. stimulus before election

Nickey Miller, left, and Josie Rudderham, co-owners of Cake and Loaf in Hamilton, Ont., pose outside of their Dundurn Street South storefront location, Monday, October 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton
For small businesses that survive COVID, recovery is expected to be difficult

For small businesses that survive COVID, recovery is expected to be difficult

The Bank of Canada building is seen in Ottawa, Wednesday, April 15, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Companies have modest hiring plans, low wage growth expectations, Bank of Canada says

Companies have modest hiring plans, low wage growth expectations, Bank of Canada says

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground in a canola field near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. Higher oil prices are expected to bolster returns as Canadian energy companies report third-quarter results over the next few weeks but observers say a recent stall in the price recovery and ongoing oil market uncertainty make unlikely any increases in production and spending plans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Oil price stall, global uncertainty prompt caution as oil firms roll out Q3 reports

Oil price stall, global uncertainty prompt caution as oil firms roll out Q3 reports

Topaz Energy prices IPO offering at $13 per share, Tourmaline cuts secondary offering

Topaz Energy prices IPO offering at $13 per share, Tourmaline cuts secondary offering

Executive Director of Agape Kate Halas (left) receives $1000 from Sgt. Eric Christensen (right) on behalf of Agape. Photo/ Shaela Dansereau.
Former Wetaskiwin Peace Officer wins provincial award; gives back to Wetaskiwin community

Eric Christensen has won the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers Award of Excellence.

Most Read