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As MI Governor Kidnap Trial Starts, Will Militias Become More Public?

In Michigan, four men charged with conspiring to kidnap Gov. Grechen Whimer go on trial Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. Part of a group called "The Wolverine Watchmen". the men were joined by other militia-styled cells in an Ohio meeting in 2020 concerned mainly with COVID-19 lockdowns. Two of the men, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, have pleaded guilty. Javed Ali, a University of Michigan professor who served with the FBI and intelligence agencies, said the incident points towards a shift in the politics of militias. "This is a different type of domestic terrorism phenomenon than we’ve faced in previous decades — completely different from anything I’ve observed.”

The group considered executing the mayor or using explosives to distract police but settled on the kidnapping plot. Some members were involved months earlier in a demonstration where they carried weapons into the state Senate gallery. "The Wolverine Watchmen" began recruiting on Facebook in 2019 and carried out militia-style training exercises to train for the "boogaloo"- their name for an impending civil war. All suspects are Michigan residents, except for Croft who is from Delaware. Two of the men were kicked out of the group for advocating violence. Experts say that the trial may indicate whether the group goes public or stays secretive as they have in the past.

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