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Gov. Whitmer receives support at Capitol following kidnapping threats

October 9, 2020
A Gretchen Whitmer supporter standing outside the Capitol on Oct. 8, 2020.
A Gretchen Whitmer supporter standing outside the Capitol on Oct. 8, 2020. —
Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

Hours after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded to a plot to kidnap her by Michigan domestic terrorists, supporters made their way to the Michigan State Capitol to stand in solidarity with her. The group, no more than a few dozen, trickled onto the Capitol’s porch with letters and signs. Their signs were reminiscent of Whitmer’s run for governor and the letters spelled a familiar nickname.

In big-picketed wooden letters, “Big Gretch” was stuck into the Capitol lawn.

Those present posed behind the sign before they moved to the steps of the Capitol where Noah Arbit, Founder and Chair of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus, delivered a speech.

“(It was an) Insane day, not a day in which we all are proud to be Michiganders because what happened here today does not represent who we are as Michiganders,” Arbit said.

“We’re here to support our Governor Gretchen Whitmer because for months, she has done everything in her power to make all of us more safe. And it is devastating that because of her actions she is now less safe.”

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andrew Birge and the FBI charged six individuals — identified in the record as Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta — after being arrested Wednesday night for allegedly conspiring to kidnap Whitmer.

The affidavit says the group conspired to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home in the Western District before the November election. The individuals have been arrested, and if convicted, they may face up to life in prison.

Michigan 69th House District Rep. Julie Brixie spoke to the crowd from the steps of the capital on her disappointment in the plots threatening the governor. 

“We should not be threatened by people inciting violence and certainly our elected officials should not be inciting violence — they should be condemning it,” Brixie said.

“And so I stand here condemning the violence that was planned, that was plotted, I applaud the Attorney General and all of the law enforcement," she said.

Whitmer responded to the threats in a live stream Thursday, thanking the law enforcement, FBI agents and Michigan State Police troopers who uncovered the plot under the leadership of Col. Joseph Gasper. 

"I also want to thank Attorney General Nessel and the U.S. Attorneys Birge and Schneider, and their teams for pursuing criminal charges that hopefully, will lead to convictions, bringing these sick and depraved men to justice," Whitmer said in the live stream. 

"As a mom with two teenage daughters and three stepsons, my husband and I are eternally grateful to everyone who put themselves in harm's way to keep our family safe."

A release from the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also stated that in conjunction with the plots against the governor, seven individuals had been charged with acts of terrorism under Michigan state law. 

A total of 19 state felony charges were filed by Nessel against seven members or associates of militia group Wolverine Watchmen.

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