AP

3 accused of assisting governor kidnapping plot stand trial

Oct 4, 2022, 7:34 PM | Updated: Oct 5, 2022, 8:04 am

Joseph Morrison, center back, appears before Jackson Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson for trial in a cou...

Joseph Morrison, center back, appears before Jackson Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson for trial in a courthouse on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Jackson, Mich. Paul Bellar, Morrison and Pete Musico are accused of being involved in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. They are charged with three crimes, including providing material support for a terrorist act. (J. Scott Park/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP, Pool)

(J. Scott Park/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP, Pool)

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of three men charged in connection with a 2020 anti-government plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were told Wednesday about the formation and actions of a paramilitary group the government says trained as part of the scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Bill Rollstin presented the Wolverine Watchmen as a gang and said in his opening statements in Jackson County Circuit Court that its purpose “was to target law enforcement for violent action.”

Joe Morrison, Pete Musico and Paul Bellar are not charged with directly participating in the kidnapping scheme. Instead, they are accused of assisting others who did. Each man is charged with three crimes, including providing material support for a terrorist act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

The three were members of the Wolverine Watchmen, a group that trained in Jackson County, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Detroit.

“Everybody in the Wolverine Watchmen shared a very common ideology in that they hated our government, they wanted to kill law enforcement police officers, and that the gang gave them motive, means and opportunity to train Adam Fox knowing he was going to commit an act of terrorism,” Rollstin said.

A jury convicted Fox and Barry Croft in August of two federal counts of conspiracy related to the kidnapping scheme and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. They face up to life in prison when they’re sentenced Dec. 28.

The FBI foiled the plot in October 2020.

Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court. Two other men were acquitted.

___

Find more AP coverage of the kidnapping plot cases: https://apnews.com/hub/whitmer-kidnap-plot-trial.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

1 day ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

2 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

2 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

3 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

4 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

5 days ago

3 accused of assisting governor kidnapping plot stand trial