Whitmer Kidnapping Defendants Claim Entrapment After 12 FBI Informants Involved In Plot

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jul 21, 2021 - 07:44 PM

At least a dozen FBI informants infiltrated an anti-government group of aspiring extremists, and were involved in virtually every aspect of a plan to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to BuzzFeed.

"Some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported," according to the report.

One 'informant,' an Iraq war veteran, "became so deeply enmeshed in a Michigan militant group" that he rose to second-in-command - telling members of the group to meet with other potential suspects, and even footing the bill to transport members to meetings.

Matthew Dae Smith / Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Another FBI 'informant' advised the militia group on where they should plant explosives, and offered to procure as many as were needed.

Everybody down with what’s going on?” an Iraq War veteran in the group demanded to know when they ended their recon mission, well past midnight, at a campsite where they were all staying.

“If you’re not down with the thought of kidnapping,” someone else replied, “don’t sit here.”

The men planned for all kinds of obstacles, but there was one they didn’t anticipate: The FBI had been listening in all along.

For six months, the Iraq War vet had been wearing a wire, gathering hundreds of hours of recordings. He wasn’t the only one. A biker who had traveled from Wisconsin to join the group was another informant. The man who’d advised them on where to put the explosives — and offered to get them as much as the task would require — was an undercover FBI agent. So was a man in one of the other cars who said little and went by the name Mark. -BuzzFeed

Three weeks later, over a dozen men were arrested by federal and state agents in what one federal prosecutor described as a "deeply disturbing" criminal conspiracy hatched over several months via secret meetings, encrypted chats, and paramilitary-style training exercises.

Exhibits from hearings in the case include screenshots of chats and flyers handed out by the Wolverine Watchmen. A boogaloo boy (top right) holds a rifle at a rally at the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing in October 2020.

In total, 14 men were charged last year in the alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer. They've all pleaded not-guilty, and say the FBI set them up. They claim their talk never rose beyond the level of fantasy, and that they never intended to harm Whitmer or anyone else. The defendants claim there was no conspiracy to kidnap the governor - and instead say they were targeted because of their political views.

Some describe the case as a premeditated campaign by the government to undermine the Patriot movement, an ideology based on fealty to the Second Amendment and the conviction that the government has violated the Constitution and is therefore illegitimate.


Last week, the lawyer for one defendant filed a motion that included texts from an FBI agent to a key informant, the Iraq War veteran, directing him to draw specific people into the conspiracy — potential evidence of entrapment that he said the government “inadvertently disclosed.” He is requesting all texts sent and received by that informant, and other attorneys are now considering motions that accuse the government of intentionally withholding evidence of entrapment. -BuzzFeed

In total, the prosecution gathered some 400,000 text messages, thousands of social media posts, and over 1,300 hours of recordings - including "audio or video from all three vehicles it alleges traveled to Birch Lake on the night of Sept. 12."

In a curious twist, one of the lead federal prosecutors on the case, Gregory Townsend, was reassigned in May pending an audit by the Attorney General into whether he had withheld key evidence about deals cut with informants during an unrelated murder and arson trial in Oakland County in 2000. On Sunday, meanwhile, one of the lead FBI agents in the case, Richard J. Trask, was charged in another unrelated matter in Kalamazoo over an alleged assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

The FBI's use of (often paid) informants dates back to at least the late 1950s, when they employed individuals to infiltrate dissident groups such as the Black Panthers, the Democrat-founded Ku Klux Klan, and Martin Luther King Jr. The strategy has had a 'decidedly mixed record,' with some informants helping to bust open cases that avoided violent acts, while others have coerced innocent people, falsified evidence, 'and even committed murder while working for the FBI.'

Read the rest of the report here.