Accused Michigan militiaman charged in Whitmer kidnap plot, defends backpack contents

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones WLS logo
Saturday, September 9, 2023
Michigan militiaman on trial for Whitmer plot defends backpack contenst
Authorities claim what was discovered in Eric Molitor's possession is considered the anatomy of a kidnapper's backpack; tools intended to carry out Whitmer's abduction and executio

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One of the Michigan militiamen accused of engineering a scheme to take down Governor Gretchen Whitmer was back on the stand Friday defending the contents found inside his backpack.

Authorities claim what was discovered in Eric Molitor's possession is considered the anatomy of a kidnapper's backpack: tools intended to carry out the abduction and execution of Michigan's governor.

Molitor faces charges linked to terrorism in the alleged plot to blow up bridges and cut off access to Whitmer's lakeside home in August of 2020.

Once in the forced custody of Molitor and more than a dozen Wolverine Watchmen militia commandos, investigators say Whitmer was to be killed in a public execution for what they saw as her unrelenting COVID restrictions.

Testifying in his own defense in northern Michigan, Molitor explained what the alleged criminal tools were in his backpack.

"I had the stuff for militia reasons, for private security reasons and for self-defense reasons, competition. That's why I had that stuff. So something like that is a magazine holster, holster system, um that is a baton, shackles," he said.

Molitor and other militiamen undertook extensive live fire training at a remote camp in Wisconsin, and conducted surveillance of the governor's vacation getaway according to authorities.

The 39-year-old claimed he was a scared passenger during what amounted to guy's getaways and social road trips, in which they were simply trying to get a look at a politicians home and not scout for her eventual kidnapping.

The FBI interrupted the plot and federal investigators saw this as the definition of domestic terrorism fueled by political disagreement. The case was cracked by human sources and undercover operatives. Numerous participants have already been convicted and jailed.