NATIONAL NEWS

Man pleads guilty to assisting in plot to kidnap Michigan governor

Jun 6, 2023, 10:08 PM

Shawn Fix, center, confers with defense attorney Nichole Dougherty, left, during a court hearing at...

Shawn Fix, center, confers with defense attorney Nichole Dougherty, left, during a court hearing at Antrim County Circuit Court in Bellaire, Mich. Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Fix pleaded guilty to providing material support for a terrorist act in connection with a 2020 plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (AP Photo/John Flesher)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/John Flesher)

BELLAIRE, Mich. (AP) — A man accused of aiding a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor pleaded guilty Wednesday, the ninth conviction in state and federal courts since agents broke up an astonishing scheme by anti-government rebels in 2020.

Shawn Fix said he provided material support for an act of terrorism, namely the strategy to snatch Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in Antrim County. Prosecutors agreed to drop a weapon charge.

Fix trained with a militia, the Wolverine Watchmen, for “politically motivated violence,” prosecutors have said, and hosted a five-hour meeting at his Belleville home where there was much discussion about kidnapping Whitmer.

Fix, 40, acknowledged helping plot leader Adam Fox pinpoint the location of Whitmer’s home, key information that was used for a 2020 ride to find the property in northern Michigan.

“Guilty,” Fix told the judge.

He appeared in an Antrim County court, one of five people charged in that leg of the investigation. A co-defendant pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in March, leaving three other men to face trial in August.

Fix, who faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, agreed to testify if called by prosecutors.

The main kidnapping conspiracy case was handled in federal court, where four men, including ringleaders Fox and were acquitted.

Separately, three men were convicted at trial in Jackson County, the site of militia training, and are serving long prison terms.

Whitmer, a Democrat, was targeted as part of a broad effort by anti-government extremists to trigger a civil war around the time of the 2020 presidential election, investigators said. Her COVID-19 policies, which shut down schools and restricted the economy, were deeply scorned by foes.

But informants and undercover FBI agents were inside the group for months, leading to arrests in October 2020. Whitmer was not physically harmed.

After the plot was thwarted, Whitmer blamed then-President Donald Trump, saying he had given “comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division.” Last August, after 19 months out of office, Trump called the kidnapping plan a “fake deal.”

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Man pleads guilty to assisting in plot to kidnap Michigan governor