Speed Reads

A Failed Ploy

Men found guilty in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Three men were found guilty Wednesday of terrorism-based charges related to a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the leadup to the 2020 election.

Joe Morrison, Pete Musico, and Paul Bellar were each convicted of supplying "material support" to a terrorist organization. The trio were members of a Michigan-based militia group known as the Wolverine Watchmen, The Associated Press reported. They were additionally convicted of gun crimes and gang affiliation charges. 

Prosecutors alleged the men "engaged in the planning and training for an operation to attack the state Capitol building and kidnap government officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer," according to a press release from the Michigan attorney general. 

The three men, along with the leader of the kidnapping plot, Adam Fox, had engaged in firearms and combat drills in rural Michigan as a form of training, prosecutors alleged. The state trial was an offshoot of the main federal case against the militia members, in which Fox was convicted of conspiracy charges. 

The material support convictions, which are felonies, could land the men up to 20 years in prison. They are scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 15. 

In a tweet, Whitmer lauded the work of the prosecutors, writing, "Three defendants were found guilty of material support for terrorism, gang membership, and possession of a weapon while committing a felony in support of the plot to kidnap and kill me."

"No threat, no plot, no rhetoric will break my belief in the goodness and decency of our people," she added.