Three defendants acquitted of plotting to kidnap Michigan governor

(Reuters) – The last three men to face charges in a foiled plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer were acquitted on Friday in a trial in state court on terrorism and firearms charges.

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.

An Antrim County jury found the men not guilty after deliberating for about a day following a two-week trial.

The three men were the last of more than a dozen men to face federal and state charges in the kidnapping conspiracy. Most had either been convicted or pleaded guilty.

The group of men were accused of taking part in an elaborate plot to abduct the governor from her vacation home, then put her on trial for treason. They hoped the kidnapping would lead to a violent uprising and instigate a civil war, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say the plan was motivated by grievances related to the 2020 presidential election and opposition to state COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Democratic governor.

In December, a federal judge sentenced the group’s leader, Adam Fox, to 16 years in prison, while his codefendant, Barry Croft Jr., received a 19-year prison sentence. Both men were convicted of domestic terrorism, conspiracy to kidnap and other charges.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Howard Goller)

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