Sentences of 12, 10, and 7 years have been handed down for three of the plotters involved in the failed kidnapping of Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer.
In early 2020, the FBI was alerted to a plan by a far-right group to kidnap Gov. Whitmer. The investigation was unsealed in October that year, when federal indictments were handed down against six men associated with the plot, and state indictments against 7 more. The men met in person and on Facebook, leaving plenty of evidence for investigators. The plotters blamed Whitmer and other left-aligned politicians for “stealing” the Presidency from Donald Trump, and for the pandemic. In all, fourteen arrests were made.
The three men sentenced on Thursday were Pete Musico, his son-in-law Joe Morrison, and Paul Bellar. They were convicted in October this year of the charge of providing material support for a terrorist act, as well as being members of a gang, and a gun crime.
All three belonged to the Wolverine Watchmen, a so-called “patriot” paramilitary group which trained with Adam Fox, considered the leader of the group.
They were running a “terrorism training camp in Jackson County,” Assistant Attorney General Sunita Doddamani told the judge.
Musico, 45, cried while acknowledging a “lack of judgment.” Morrison, 28, said he was “renouncing, disavowing and detesting” anti-government ideologies. Bellar, 24, was the last to speak, publicly apologizing for abhorrent remarks about the governor.
“I was caught up highly in the moment,” Bellar said. “I felt I had lost a lot of camaraderie after being discharged from the Army. That was the reason I joined the Wolverine Watchmen in the first place.”
According to defense lawyers, all three plan to appeal despite their show of remorse. They argue that all three had cut ties with the group before the Whitmer plot became more than words. Should their sentences stand, they’ll be eligible for parole after their terms.