Key witnesses who were part of the alleged plot now say the target was actually the 2020 presidential election
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Since the FBI broke up a heavily armed militia group in 2020, the belief was Governor Gretchen Whitmer had been targeted because of Michigan's strict COVID controls. Key witnesses who were part of the alleged plot now said the target was actually the 2020 presidential election and preventing Joe Biden from taking office.
When the Wolverine Watchmen militiamen amassed an arsenal of assault rifles, explosives and tactical gear in the summer of 2020, they were aiming to kidnap and kill Gov. Whitmer, according to federal prosecutors.
While the four men, now on trial in western Michigan, were furious about the COVID restrictions put in place by Whitmer, co-militiaman and now key government witness, Ty Garbin, said they were actually targeting the presidential election in hopes of causing such social disruption that it would prevent Biden from ever getting into office.
Garbin's testimony confirmed details of the plot that was to spark civil unrest, including blowing up a bridge to the governor's vacation home and then abducting her, while taking no other prisoners.
During Thursday's federal criminal trial, the government's second key witness, Kaleb Franks, said he considered the kidnap and kill plot against Whitmer to be a suicide mission. He said he planned to be killed during the raid and wanted to die. Franks has now cut a deal with prosecutors to testify against his former militia brothers.
Attorneys for the men charged in this explosive federal case maintain the government entrapped the militia members and there was no actual plan to carry out the plot -- that it was all talk.
While the government's case relies on ex-militia members who are now witnesses, as well as undercover federal agents, there are also recordings secretly made by FBI operatives during the investigation. One recording was made on the car ride from Michigan to that commando training camp in Cambria, Wisconsin. The car was carrying illegal guns.
One militiaman is heard on tape saying he didn't want to drive through Chicago because he feared being pulled over by police.