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FBI investigating threats made in connection with Whitmer kidnapping trial – Metro US

FBI investigating threats made in connection with Whitmer kidnapping trial

FILE PHOTO: Ford Motors pre-production all-electric F-150 Lightning truck prototype
FILE PHOTO: Ford Motors pre-production all-electric F-150 Lightning truck prototype

(Reuters) – The FBI searched a home in a Detroit suburb in an investigation into threats made to people involved in the trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the U.S. law enforcement agency said on Wednesday.

The FBI’s Detroit office is working with law enforcement agencies across the country to identify the source of the threats made in connection with the high-profile trial taking place in a federal court in Grand Rapids, it said in a statement.

“We do not anticipate there being any impact on the ongoing prosecution,” the office said. “We will continue to work with the district court’s security personnel and law enforcement agencies in & around Grand Rapids to ensure that anyone participating in that proceeding is safe.”

The FBI would not elaborate about when and how the threats were made but said agents raided a home on Friday in Hazel Park outside of Detroit as part of their investigation. The Detroit News reported that the threats were made against Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker, who is presiding over the trial, and defense lawyers Josh Blanchard and Christopher Gibbons.

Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft Jr. and Daniel Harris are being tried on charges of conspiring to kidnap the Democratic governor in 2020 over her COVID-19 mandates. The prosecution rested its case on Wednesday in the trial, which began three weeks ago.

The defendants’ attorneys have argued in court that their clients only engaged in idle talk and never conspired to abduct the governor.

A total of 13 men, some of whom prosecutors said were associated with an anti-government militia group known as Wolverine Watchmen, were arrested in October 2020 and charged with state or federal crimes in the alleged kidnapping conspiracy. Seven of them are facing charges in state court.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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