Group Discussed Kidnapping Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam
The men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor also discussed abducting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, an FBI agent testified at a court hearing Tuesday.
Six men were arrested and charged federally last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor as part of a plan to overthrow elements of the government and attack law-enforcement personnel. FBI special agent Richard Trask, who was involved in the investigation into the group, testified during a preliminary hearing held in Grand Rapids, Mich., for five of the men who are Michigan residents. A sixth is from Delaware.
上周，六名男子被捕，并被联邦政府指控密谋绑架密歇根州州长，这是推翻政府成员和袭击执法人员计划的一部分。参与该组织调查的联邦调查局特工理查德·特拉斯克(Richard Trask)在密歇根州大急流城(Grand Rapids)为其中五名密歇根州居民举行的初步听证会上作证。第六个来自特拉华州。
Seven other men involved in the plot are part of a self-styled militia known as the Wolverine Watchmen and were charged under Michigan’s antiterrorism act.
Tuesday’s hearing was to review evidence against the men charged federally to determine whether they should be detained before trial.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation alerted Mr. Northam’s security team during its investigation, but he and his staff weren’t informed, Mr. Northam’s spokeswoman said, adding that is standard security protocol for highly classified information.
诺瑟姆的发言人说，联邦调查局(Federal Bureau of Investigation，简称FBI)在调查期间通知了诺瑟姆的安全团队，但他和他的工作人员没有得到通知，并补充说，这是高度机密信息的标准安全协议。
“At no time was the governor or his family in imminent danger,” she said. “Enhanced security measures have been in place for Gov. Northam and his family for quite some time, and they will remain.”
Mr. Northam, a Democrat elected in 2017, has faced vocal criticism from gun-rights supporters for backing a series of gun laws passed by the state legislature earlier this year, after Democrats gained control of both chambers in November 2019 elections.
The governor also experienced some resistance to shutdown orders he imposed last spring in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
President Trump took to Twitter in April to urge his supporters to “LIBERATE VIRGINIA,” as he did about Michigan and Minnesota minutes before. “In fact, the president regularly encourages violence against those who disagree with him,” Mr. Northam’s spokeswoman said. “The rhetoric coming out of this White House has serious and potentially deadly consequences. It must stop,” she said.
In January, an estimated 22,000 pro-gun demonstrators, some carrying military-style rifles, gathered peacefully around the state Capitol in Richmond to protest the proposed firearm restrictions. Attendees held banners that read “Come and Take It” alongside images of firearms, and some chanted into bullhorns, “We will not comply.”
Ahead of the rally, Mr. Northam said there were credible threats of potential violence from out-of-state militia and hate groups.
During the subsequent legislative session, lawmakers approved several gun-control bills, including a red-flag measure that allows guns to be taken away from people deemed dangerous, an expansion of background checks and the reinstatement of a limit of one handgun purchase a month.
The most contentious gun-related bill, a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons, was defeated when moderate Democrats in the Senate joined with Republicans to block it.
At the Tuesday hearing in Michigan, Magistrate Judge Sally J. Berens heard testimony that in plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the men discussed taking her out on Lake Michigan in a boat, and one suggested disabling its engine and leaving her there.
在密歇根州周二的听证会上，治安法官萨利·J·贝伦斯(Sally J.Berens)听取了证词，证词称，在密谋绑架州长格雷琴·惠特默(Gretchen Whitmer)的过程中，两人讨论了用船把她带到密歇根湖上，其中一人建议关闭引擎，把她留在那里。
In ruling that three of the men must remain in custody, Ms. Berens said that while their kidnapping plans may have been disrupted, she had seen little evidence that their movement had ended. She said she remained concerned about their access to help to pull off another plan, as well as their access to weapons, including unmarked “ghost guns,” and threatening rhetoric toward law-enforcement officers.
The hearing, in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan, is scheduled to resume Friday.