The FBI allegedly played a much “larger role” in the plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to a BuzzFeed News report. The defense had originally planned to argue that the alleged plotters were “induced or persuaded” by the FBI.
At least 12 FBI informants and undercover FBI agents were involved with gathering information against the anti-government militia members who allegedly planned to kidnap Whitmer. BuzzFeed claimed that the FBI played a greater role than was previously known. The months-long investigation eventually led to the arrest of 14 individuals in connection to the plot to kidnap Whitmer, and 13 of them have pleaded not guilty, according to BuzzFeed.
The defendants claimed that the FBI-connected individuals often encouraged militia members to engage in the planning process and other criminal activities, and facilitated some of these interactions, according to Buzzfeed. From the defendants’ perspective, the informants and undercover agents were crucial pieces to the alleged plot. The defense further argued claimed that without the FBI’s influence, there may have never been a conspiracy to allegedly kidnap the governor, according to BuzzFeed.
One of these informants, a man from Wisconsin, reportedly planned meet-ups for the anti-government militia members, even paying for hotel rooms and food to incentivize some of these militia members. The earliest versions of the plan to take Whitmer hostage began at those meetings, BuzzFeed reported.
NEW: When 14 men were charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan's governor and kick off a civil war last fall, it was hailed as a triumph in the FBI’s battle against domestic terrorism.
But the men say they weren’t plotting. They say they were set up. https://t.co/eWUbospoXj
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) July 20, 2021
Another informant, a veteran of the Iraq War named “Dan,” infiltrated a militia group based out of Michigan so successfully that he became second-in-command.