Three Men Acquitted in Last Trial of Michigan Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping Plot
In a stunning setback for the government, a jury on Friday acquitted three men in the last trial of a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The men – William Null, Michael Null, and Eric Molitor were found not guilty of providing material support for a terrorist act and a weapons charge. They were the last of 14 men to face charges in state or federal court.
Nine other men have been convicted.
The acquittals come after a two-week trial in which prosecutors argued that the men were part of a serious plot to kidnap Whitmer and overthrow the government. But defense attorneys argued that the men were engaged in protected political speech and that the government had fabricated evidence against them.
The jury’s verdict is a major victory for the defense and a blow to the government’s case. It also raises questions about the government’s use of undercover agents and entrapment.
Timeline of the events:
- In 2020, the FBI infiltrated a group of anti-government extremists who were plotting to kidnap Whitmer.
- The FBI agents posed as members of the group and recorded conversations in which the men discussed their plans.
- In October 2020, the men were arrested and charged with conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to commit violence in aid of racketeering, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
- The trial began in March 2023 and lasted for three weeks.
- On September 16, 2023, the jury acquitted Null, Null, and Molitor of all charges.
Impact of the verdict:
The acquittals are a setback for the government’s efforts to crack down on domestic terrorism. They also raise questions about the strength of the evidence against the other men who have been charged in the case.
It is unclear what the government will do next. It could appeal the acquittals, or it could drop the charges against the other men.
The case has been closely watched by civil liberties groups, who have expressed concerns about the government’s tactics. The acquittals could have a broader impact on the government’s ability to investigate and prosecute domestic terrorism cases.
Source – Forbes