The final trial of 14 men charged in the conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer have been acquitted by a jury in Antrim County, the location of the governor’s lakeside vacation home.
“Today’s verdict is disappointing,” Whitmer’s chief of staff JoAnne Huls said in a statement. “A not guilty verdict on the plot to kidnap and kill Governor Whitmer in hopes of starting a civil war will further encourage and embolden radical extremists trying to sow discord and harm public officials or law enforcement. “
William Null, twin brother Michael Null and Eric Molitor were found not guilty of providing support for a terrorist act and a weapon charge. The jury deliberated for 10 hours.
They were the last of 14 men to face charges in state or federal court. Nine others have been convicted.
The three men were accused of supporting leaders of the plan by participating in military-style drills and traveling to see Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan.
The jury heard 14 days of testimony surrounding the plot which began in the summer of 2020, with anti-government extremists gathering in Dublin, Ohio, to rage against the government officials’ restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The FBI infiltrated the group and produced recordings, text messages and social media posts, which were introduced as evidence at various trials.
Molitor, 39, and William Null, 41, testified in their own defense, admitting they had attended gun drills and taken rides to check Whitmer’s property. But William Null said he and his brother broke away when talk turned to getting explosives. Molitor said Fox, the convicted ringleader, was “incredibly dumb” and wouldn’t pull off a kidnapping.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a a statement: “While today’s verdicts are not what we hoped for, the successes we have achieved throughout these cases, in both state and federal courts, sends a clear message that acts of domestic terrorism will not be tolerated in our state.”
Prior to today’s three acquittals, four men struck a deal to plead guilty, two men were acquitted, two men were found guilty of kidnapping conspiracy and conspiracy to possess weapons of mass destruction, and three men were convicted of felony counts of gang membership, providing material support to terrorism, and illegal weapons possession.