After nearly three years, the final trial in the 2020 plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer is set for Wednesday.
Jury selection began Monday as Eric Molitor and brothers William and Michael Null are the last of 14 men to face charges for allegedly providing material support for an act of terrorism and illegally possessing firearms.
It all started just ahead of the just ahead of the 2020 election when 14 men that prosecutors say were angry over Whitmer’s COVID-19 policies planned to kidnap the Governor at her vacation home in Elk Rapids.
Investigators say the men took part in armed training sessions and spent weeks surveilling the vacation home with plans to blow up a nearby bridge to slow down a police response.
The plot was eventually broken up by FBI agents and informants who were in on the plot for months, something that defense attorneys have argued entrapped the men. They also argued that federal agents played key roles during firearms training and rides to Elk Rapids.
Of the 14 men arrested, nine have been convicted or taken plea deals in state or federal court.
Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks both took plea deals in exchange for agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. Garbin was later rewarded with a dramatically reduced prison sentence.
The main kidnapping conspiracy trial in the spring of 2022 saw the acquittal of Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta and a hung jury for plot leaders Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. Fox and Croft were found guilty during a retrial later that year.
As for the state cases, Paul Bellar, Joe Morrison and Pete Musico were convicted downstate in December of 2022. And ahead of the Antrim County trial, Brian Higgins and Shawn Fix both took pleas to avoid a trial, it’s possible we could see both testify in the coming weeks.
Which brings us to the final trial where Eric Molitor from Cadillac and west Michigan brothers Michael and William Null will be tried in Antrim County for their alleged roles in the plot.
Prosecutors say Adam Fox told an FBI informant that the Null brothers ‘were willing to die’ and joined both plot leaders on a night ride to the Governor’s Northern Michigan property. Prosecutors say Molitor also did surveillance on Whitmer’s Antrim County home.
Opening arguments begin on Wednesday. The trial is expected to last three weeks.