LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told a group Monday that a jury in Republican-leaning Antrim County was "seemingly not so concerned" about a scheme to kidnap and assassinate Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to a video obtained by The Detroit News.
Nessel, who is a Democrat and the state's top law enforcement official, gave her analysis less than a week after a jury in Antrim County found three men who had been charged in a kidnapping plot targeting the governor not guilty. Nessel described the jury's Friday decision as "perplexing, confusing but terrifying."
William Null, his twin brother, Michael Null, and Eric Molitor had been accused by the Attorney General's office of providing support for a terrorist act and a weapons offense.
"We charged eight defendants. We convicted five," Nessel said of her office's prosecution of the plot to kidnap Whitmer. "But three of them were acquitted by a jury in Antrim County, not because we didn't have great evidence but because essentially, it seemed to me as though the Antrim County jurors, (in a) very, very right-leaning county (were) seemingly not so concerned about the kidnapping and assassination of the governor."
It's unusual for a Michigan attorney general or elected prosecutor to publicly criticize a jury.
Nessel's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
She made the remarks during a 20-minute virtual event with the organization Protectors of Equality in Government. The group had said Nessel's appearance would highlight "the messaging we all use to talk about fake electors and the various indictments, including (former President) Trump."
A joint operation, involving Nessel's office, the Michigan State Police and federal authorities, spurred charges against 14 people in an alleged scheme to attack the state Capitol building and kidnap government officials, including Whitmer. The charges were first announced in October 2020.
Nessel's office spearheaded the prosecution of eight of the people. Federal prosecutors handled other cases, resulting in two convictions and lengthy prison sentences.
Outside the courthouse on Friday, an Antrim County juror approached Molitor and “said he was very sorry for all he had gone through,” defense attorney William Barnett told the Associated Press. Barnett said jurors privately told the judge the evidence simply did not add up to “material support” for a kidnapping plot, according to the Associated Press.
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