Trial for 3 in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot will proceed

Five others have been charged in state courts.
Jackson County judge rules trial may proceed for three accused in Whitmer kidnapping plot
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 12:30 PM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - A judge issued a ruling Tuesday on whether three men charged in a plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer before the 2020 election were entrapped by the FBI.

More: Judge handing down first sentence for plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wilson set a Tuesday afternoon video conference to determine if Joseph Morrison, Pete Musico, and Paul Bellar will stand trial. They are charged with providing materials to support terrorist acts and attempting to commit a felony as an associate or member of a gang.

Judge Wilson ruled that all three would proceed to trial. He cited the Wolverine Watchmen’s rules for joining their group, which included precautions against law enforcement finding out about the group’s activities. He also noted that the witness who contacted the FBI did so after joining the group.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “As expected, the defense has worked to skew the facts of this case to undermine the integrity of the charges. This ruling makes clear these defendants were not pressured by law enforcement into committing these crimes. These were very serious threats to our elected officials and the public, and the perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable.”

They are accused of aiding six others who were charged in federal court, including two men who have pleaded guilty and four who are scheduled to stand trial on March 8 in Grand Rapids.

A trial date for Bellar, Morrison and Musico is set for Sept. 12. The trial is expected to last multiple weeks.

Five others have been charged in state courts.

More on the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan’s Governor:

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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