Attorneys for suspects arrested in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer allege that the scheme was an FBI set-up, BuzzFeed News reports.
Prosecutors say at least 12 confidential informants helped the FBI arrest the suspects but evidence reviewed by BuzzFeed News show that some of those informants “acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported.”
Those informants, BuzzFeed News reported, “had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.”
Longtime informant may have hatched plot:
A longtime government informant helped organize a series of meetings where many of the suspects first met and “the earliest notions of the plan took root,” according to the report.
The informant, who paid for food and lodging for some of the attendees, rose to become a Michigan militia’s second-in-command and encourage members to collaborate with other potential suspects while paying for their travel.
“He prodded the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping plot to advance his plan, then baited the trap that led to the arrest,” according to the report.
Texts show FBI contact:
A lawyer for one defendant last week filed evidence showing texts between the informant and an FBI agent in which the agent urges him to recruit specific people into the conspiracy.
A spokesman for the Michigan attorney general’s office said the claims “are not indisputable facts,” and that the office “will counter and correct these issues in court.”
Alleged plotters claim innocence:
All but one of the 14 men charged in the alleged plot have pleaded not guilty. They argue that they discussed the plot as a matter of “fantasy” and “never intended to harm anyone,” according to BuzzFeed, though they have not denied participating in training events.
Some of the men claim they were targeted for their political views.
One defendant accused the FBI of entrapment. Others have made similar claims.
FBI has a track record:
While it’s common for defendants to claim entrapment in court cases, the FBI has a track record going back to the 1950s of infiltrating groups and since 9/11 have been accused of stoking multiple would-be terror plots to arrest Islamic suspects that say they would not have acted if not for the FBI’s covert push.