FBI agent testifies in hearing for three men charged in plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer

Pete Musico, Joseph Morrison, and Paul Bellar are three of the more than a dozen men charged in the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
New information on Whitmer plot
Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 9:15 AM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - A special agent with the FBI out of Flint is in Jackson District Court to testify against Pete Musico, Joseph Morrison, and Paul Bellar, three of the more than a dozen men charged in the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Special Agent Henrik Impola testified before Judge Klaeren as he was the case agent in charge of the Wolverine Watchmen Terrorist Enterprise investigation. Defense attorneys objected to Impola calling the men members of an anarchist militia.

Impola spoke of the use of social media by the group as a way to both recruit and communicate.

“Initially, they used social media a lot - Facebook, Instagram - and they would use Facebook as a means of gathering members and recruiting,” Impola said. “Once they were on Facebook, they would push members towards Wire, which is an encrypted social media app. After they used Wire, they would vet out the members and push them towards tactical training exercises and in-person meetings.”

Impola testified that Wire is encrypted end-to-end so the government can not intercept communications. “Paul Bellar and Joe Morrison advertised to the group that they will be using Wire,” Impola said.

Impola described a photograph of an informant’s cellphone with the Facebook group page of the Wolverine Watchmen that showed the page administrators listed. He also described a Facebook post by Paul Zacharias, an alias for Paul Bellar.

Impola went on Facebook himself to observe what was publicly available for anyone to see, including a description of the page and a March 6, 2020 post by Bellar, under his alias.

“If you all are actually serious into this group and would like to be part of the team instead of just being on this Facebook group, please download the Wire app,” the post read. “We use it for our group chat in the armory, medical, and even memes. Please message me or any other admin if you need help finding the app. If you want to actually train and be prepared with the group now would be a better time to start than never. We already had a field training day coming up this month. There is a vetting process before getting into the actual group but as long as you’re cool, we’re cool.”

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