3 men acquitted in plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer

September 15, 2023

A jury acquitted three men on Friday in the last trial connected to the 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Eric Molitor and twin brothers William Null and Michael Null were found not guilty of providing support for a terrorist act and a weapon charge. Their trial was the final of those of 14 men who faced charges in either state or federal court. Nine were convicted and as of Friday five were acquitted.

Whitmer was unharmed in the failed plot, which began taking shape in Dublin, Ohio in the summer of 2020. 

Prosecutors said all of the accused men were linked to the militia group the Wolverine Watchmen. They were arrested in October 2020 after a member of the group turned into a confidential FBI informant after talk of harming law enforcement and public officials, according to prosecutors.

At an early meeting of the plotters, the informant secretly recorded profanity-laced screeds threatening violence against officials. The recordings further revealed that the group’s animus was also fueled by government-imposed public restrictions during the Covid pandemic that year. Text messages and social media were additionally introduced as evidence at trial. 

The plot’s key players, Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr., were convicted last year of conspiracy to kidnap in a different court from the one where the trio were acquitted on Friday.

“You gentlemen are free to leave,” Judge Charles Hamlyn of the 13th Circuit Court told the three men upon their acquittal.

They had come under suspicion after participating in military-style drills and traveling to view Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan.

In a statement released following that verdict, Whitmer’s office said the alleged plot was “the result of violent, divisive rhetoric that is all too common across our country….Without accountability, extremists will be emboldened.”

PHOTO: @GovWhitmer

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