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FBI agent: 3 Whitmer plot defendants talked about abducting her

Oralandar Brand-Williams, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

DETROIT — An FBI agent testified Thursday that three men charged in a plot to abduct Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke online about kidnapping Michigan's chief executive.

Speaking in Jackson's 12th District Court, Henrik Impola said he investigated the Wolverine Watchmen, an anti-government militia group, and found posts from former Marine Joseph Morrison touting plans to start a civil war using the term "Boogaloo."

The name of a popular dance move from the 1960s, the term Boogaloo has been co-opted by some White supremacist groups as code for committing violent acts.

Morrison, 26, of Munith; his father-in-law Pete Musico, 42, of Munith and Paul Bellar, 22, of Milford are charged under the state's anti-terrorism law with plotting to abduct Whitmer or, alternatively, storm and set fire to the Michigan Capitol in Lansing. They are among 14 men facing various charges in the alleged conspiracy.

Bellar's attorney, Andrew Kirkpatrick, questioned Impola about the intent of his client and the other men: "There is a big difference between a plan and an idea, right?"

But Impola said Musico, Morrison and Bellar all "talked about kidnapping the governor."


Six men, including accused alleged ringleader Adam Fox, 37, of Potterville face more serious charges in federal court in Grand Rapids for their alleged part in the plot to kidnap the governor and put her on "trial."

The defendants allegedly referred to Whitmer as a tyrant because of her executive orders to shut down businesses, schools and other public offices to prevent the spread of the contagious and deadly novel coronavirus.

Musico, Morrision and Bellar allegedly had ties to Fox. Fox and another defendant, Barry Croft Jr. of Delaware, were part of a national planning meeting in June in Dublin, Ohio, where participants discussed staging a second American Civil War and appointing some of the militia leaders as new "Founding Fathers" during a second American Revolution, Impola testified.

The preliminary hearing before Judge Michael Klaeren, which will determine if there is sufficient evidence to try Bellar, Musico and Morrison, is to continue Friday for a third day, with a confidential informant expected to testify.

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