A 34-year-old Michigan man, his identity obscured for security, testified Friday in a preliminary exam for three of the 15 defendants charged in the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which was foiled last fall.
Identified only as Dan, the man detailed how clicking a Facebook link led him to the Wolverine Watchmen, a militia group, and eventually into the heart of the conspiracy. A military veteran, he was quickly promoted to a leadership position in the Wolverine Watchmen, due to his training and experience. But, alarmed by threats and group members' stories of violence against police and others, he approached police with his knowledge and eventually became an FBI informant.
On April 30, at a raucous anti-Whitmer protest at the Michigan Capitol, the atmosphere was so tense that Dan testified he stepped away and spoke to FBI agents directly into his wire.
The fear was “we were going to storm the Capitol,” Dan recounted.
As thousands gathered outside, defendants (Pete) Musico, (Paul) Bellar and (Joe) Morrison carried AR-15s while recruiting new members to the Wolverine Watchmen. Bellar, in particular, said he wanted to “bum rush the Capitol, like a bull in a China shop, just go right through it,” the informant testified.
Musico was under the impression Whitmer was inside the Capitol and told colleagues he “was going to go out to the opposite side of the building and catch that bitch as she was coming out of the emergency exit,” Dan testified.
The threat, though, vanished when the armed men realized Michigan is one of the few states in the nation that doesn’t ban guns (in its Capitol building).
It was open for visitors, and there was no need to breach the doors because state police were letting in demonstrators after a temperature check as a COVID-19 precaution.
(So that's Michigan for you: We actually make it easier to storm our Capitol.)
Anyway, the next hearing is March 29.