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 September 15, 2023

Jury acquits three men implicated in plot to kidnap Michigan's governor

Three of the individuals who were accused of plotting, in 2020, to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) were acquitted by a Michigan jury on Friday. 

The three individuals are twin brothers William and Michael Null as well as Eric Molitor, according to Fox News.

Reuters reports: "Eric Molitor and brothers William and Michael Null each faced one count of providing material support for terrorist acts and carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony."

Now, however, after a two-week trial and a day of jury deliberation, these three men have been acquitted of all charges. Judge Charles Hamlyn told them, "You gentlemen are free to leave."

These three individuals are among the 14 individuals who were implicated in the 2020 plot to kidnap Whitmer. Nine of the 14 have been convicted, while the remainder have now been acquitted.

The plot, according to the prosecution, was hatched just before the 2020 presidential election, when COVID-19 restrictions were in full effect. This was particularly the case in Michigan, where Whitmer ruled with an iron fist during the pandemic.

The New York Times reports:

Against that backdrop, state prosecutors said, a group of men with antigovernment beliefs, militia ties and anger over pandemic lockdowns came together and began concocting a plan to abduct and possibly kill Ms. Whitmer at her rural vacation home, and perhaps incite a civil war in the process. Some of the men discussed attacking the governor’s security detail and blowing up a bridge to hinder the police response to the kidnapping.

The plot, however, was foiled by the government. Authorities arrested the 14 individuals in October 2020.

The two Null brothers and Molitor were specifically accused of helping to advance the scheme to kidnap Whitmer, including by scouting her vacation home. But, unlike some of the others, they were not involved in the orchestration of the kidnapping plot.

During the trial, the defense not only highlighted this fact, but the defense also argued that the three men were essentially entrapped by FBI informants, who had encouraged the men to carry on the plot.

The jury ended up agreeing with the defense. One juror is even reported, by defense attorney William Barnett, to have approached Molitor, after the acquittal verdict, and to have told him that he, the juror, "was very sorry for all he [Molitor] had gone through."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was clearly displeased with the acquittal, saying that it was "not what we hoped for."

The three defendants, in contrast, were emotional and happy.

Barnett said of Nessel's office, "They went after three peoples’ lives and destroyed them for three years. I’m just lost for words. This is an emotional moment."

Written By:
Robert Ayers

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