Trial ordered for 5 men in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The plot came amid anger and frustrations over restrictions imposed by Whitmer during the COVID-19 pandemic

Five men allegedly involved in the failed plot by the Wolverine Watchmen militia group and its associates to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were ordered to stand trial Wednesday.

Michael Null, William Null, Eric Molitor and Shawn Fix, all from Michigan, are accused of providing material support for terrorist acts as well as a gun crime. Brian Higgins of Wisconsin Dells, a Wisconsin resident, was charged with providing material support for terrorist acts.

District Judge Michael Stepka ruled that evidence presented in a preliminary hearing justified a trial in Antrim County, where Whitmer’s vacation home is located and prosecutors say the abduction was slated to take place. Prosecutors say four of the defendants scouted the house and surroundings, and there was talk of blowing up a bridge to keep police from responding.

MICHIGAN GOV. WHITMER KIDNAPPING PLOT: 3 MEN CONVICTED OF SUPPORT FOR TERRORIST ACT

Michael Null, Shawn Fix, William Null, Brian Higgins and Eric Molitor were all ordered Wednesday to stand trial in connection with the plot to kidnap Michigan Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michael Null, Shawn Fix, William Null, Brian Higgins and Eric Molitor were all ordered Wednesday to stand trial in connection with the plot to kidnap Michigan Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (AP)

"They knew what they were doing," Stepka said. "They were all involved in the plot to kidnap the governor."

He entered not guilty pleas on behalf of the five men. In a statement, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the ruling "sends a clear message that acts of domestic terrorism will not be tolerated."

"Those who threaten our law enforcement agents and public officials endanger our entire state and must be held accountable," she said. 

The suspects were part of a plot targeting law enforcement, elected officials and Whitmer, prosecutors said. Authorities have described the participants as militia members who favored a violent rebellion against the government. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the press before signing the final piece of a $76 billion state budget into law in July. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the press before signing the final piece of a $76 billion state budget into law in July.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr., described as ringleaders, were convicted of conspiracy in federal court on Aug. 23. Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks pleaded guilty, while Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were acquitted at trial in April.

A pre-trial court hearing for the five suspects is scheduled for Dec. 19 at 8 a.m. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.