Men accused of Whitmer kidnap plot discussed ‘taking out’ Virginia Gov. Northam


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam speaks with reporters at a press conference at the Governor’s mansion on February 2, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia.

Alex Edelman | Getty Images

The men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also discussed “taking out” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam because of coronavirus lockdown orders, an FBI agent revealed Tuesday.

The disclosure by FBI Special Agent Richard Trask that Northam also was being eyed for possible kidnapping came at a bond hearing in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for three of the alleged conspirators.

Trask, who did not use Northam’s name during his testimony, said the idea of kidnapping Northam and Whitmer was raised at a meeting the men attended in June in Ohio with other members of anti-goverment groups.

“They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask testified.

Northam’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

Federal authorities and state law enforcement officials in Michigan last week arrested a total of 13 men in connection with the alleged scheme to kidnap Whitmer and related crimes.

Six defendants are charged in federal court with conspiring to snatch Whitmer from her vacation home, after which one defendant allegedly planned to put her on trial for “treason.”

Those defendants include Kaleb Franks, 26, Daniel Harris, 23, and 32-year-old Brandon Caserta, the three men who were the subject of Tuesday’s court hearing.

Seven other men known to be members or associates of the militia group Wolverine Watchmen were charged under the Michigan state anti-terrorism law.

Both Whitmer and Northam are Democrats who have been criticized on Twitter by President Donald Trump.

The president in April tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” in reference to Whitmer’s strict lockdown orders for the state to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

On the same day that month, Trump tweeted, “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”

– Additional reporting by CNBC’s Hannah Miao

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.



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