Twin suspects in plot to kidnap Michigan governor have their obligations curtailed

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Two of the 14 men charged with crimes arising from an alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and start a “civil war” had their bail amounts reduced on Wednesday.

Twin brothers Michael Null, 38, of Plainwell, and William Null, 38, of Shelbyville, appeared in County Antrim District Court for a status conference and hearing to determine whether the amount of their $ 250,000 bond would be reduced.

While County Antrim’s 86th District Judge Michael Stepka dismissed the bond reduction motions, he effectively reduced the bonds by adding a cash allowance or 10% bond. This means the Nulls can be released from jail pending trial if they are able to pay $ 25,000 with the backing of a surety agency.

The two are currently accused of providing material support for terrorist acts, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and firearms, carrying a mandatory additional two years. from prison. They are housed at the Grand Traverse County Jail.

Related: The links between the men behind an alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer

The Null brothers are accused of participating in a foiled plot to remove Whitmer from his vacation home in County Antrim. They took part in military-style training exercises, planning meetings and acted as “lookouts” during the surveillance of the Whitmer vacation home in September, state police said.

(Top row, from left) Michael Null, 38, from Plainwell, Adam Dean Fox, 37, from Grand Rapids, Joseph Morrison, 26, Kaleb J. Franks, 26, Pete Musico, 42. (Bottom row, from left) Brandon Caserta, 32, William Null, 38, of Shelbyville, Eric Molitor, 36, of Cadillac, Ty G. Garbin, 24, Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville and Daniel J Harris, 23. Two unrepresented suspects are Barry Croft of Delaware and Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford. This is a composite of 11 of 13 people accused of plotting to kidnap Democratic Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer, authorities said Thursday, October 8, 2020, announcing charges in an alleged scheme that involved months of planning and even rehearsals to pull off Whitmer. from his vacation home.

The arrests in this case stem from a multi-state investigation that began in early 2020 and has led to the arrests of 14 people with links to a militia calling themselves the Wolverine Watchmen.

The Wolverine Watchmen were preparing for “boogalo,” a slang term used to refer to “a violent uprising against the government or an impending politically motivated civil war,” state police said in an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint against the Null brothers and others accused. .

The FBI first infiltrated the group using undercover informants, also members of the militia, who secretly recorded conversations and shared other information with law enforcement.

Between September 12 and September 13, the suspects in the case met at a property remote from Luther to conduct a weekend planning and training exercise, state police and the FBI said. During the rally, the suspects, including the Null brothers, separated in three vehicles and drove to the Whitmer holiday home nearly an hour and a half away to conduct a night watch mission, said the FBI in its federal complaint.

Federal and state law enforcement say the men were making very real plans to kidnap the governor, kill police, blow up a bridge and destroy Whitmer’s Lake Elk Rapids house in hopes of starting a civil war .

An MLive reporter had previously met William Null during a protest against the Civil War monument in Allendale Township, Ottawa County.

William Null, armed and standing alongside a man who identified himself as a member of the Michigan Liberty Militia, said he was counter-demonstrating efforts to remove the controversial statue in June.

“They get their education from the book ‘Mein Kampf’,” Null said at the time. “This is exactly what Hitler did before killing 6 million Jews. What is their intention? After destroying our country and destroying our nation and destroying our history, what is their goal after that? What 6 million people will they kill?

The Null brothers, Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford; Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville; Eric Molitor, 36, of Cadillac; roommates Pete Musico, 42, and Joseph Morrison, 26, of Munith; and Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin are charged with state crimes.

The alleged mastermind of the kidnapping plot, Adam Fox, 37, of Wyoming; Brandon Caserta, 33, of Canton; Daniel Harris, 23, of Lake Orion; Kaleb Franks, 26, of Waterford; Barry Croft of Delaware; Ty Garbin, 24, of Hartland Township faces federal charges.

Higgins and Musico have been released on bail. The other defendants remain in jail pending trial.

More on MLive:

Phantom weapons discovered in kidnapping plot investigation

Defense against citizen arrest is unlikely to fly

The links between the suspects in an alleged plot

Alleged kidnapping plot photos, video released

“Free Michigan,” Trump tweets

Whitmer said Trump incites ‘domestic terrorism’

City alarmed by the presence of a militia plot

Men trained with guns, explosives, neighbors say

Plan involved stranding Whitmer on boat, FBI said

Michigan sheriff accepts criticism of association with militia members, will not resign

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