A former Army soldier who joined a militia in order to keep his guns skills maintained testified Friday that he became a FBI informant when the group discussed killing police. This turning point led to covert work, and eventually to charges in a plot to kidnap the Michigan governor. Gretchen Whitmer.
The informant, also known as Dan or Big Dan, is a key witness in the prosecution of four men accused in a kidnapping plot in Grand Rapids, Michigan federal court. On the witness stand, he was not required to give his last name.
Dan was particularly close to Adam Fox who is described as the leader of the scheme. He secretly recorded hours of conversations in 2020 and made road trips to northern Michigan in order to see Whitmer’s vacation house.
Dan, 35 years old, was a postal worker and self-described libertarian. He said that he was just looking for ways to improve his firearm skills after serving in Iraq. However, he was unable to find the Wolverine Watchmen via Facebook.
Dan told a friend in law enforcement that they wanted to kill law enforcement officers.
“About one week later, the FBI contacted me. … They asked me if I would monitor their activities and stay within the group,” Dan explained to the jury.
Fox, Barry Croft Jr. and Daniel Harris are all charged with conspiracy. Prosecutors claim they plotted to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home in order to vent their anger at the government in 2020, based on restrictions she placed during the early months COVID-19.
The fourth day of testimony was heard by jurors Friday, in a trial that could go on for more than one month.
Mark Schweers, an FBI agent, said that Fox and others were fooled into thinking he was Mark Woods from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He shared their disgust with Whitmer and government. He also carried a recording device and bonded with the men firing guns while he traveled to Elk Rapids in order to inspect the governor’s second residence.
Fox laughed and used profanities to describe Whitmer.
He said, “If you give us that, then we’ll be content.” “Then lock her up… even if she has to go with you.”
Defense lawyers claim that informants and agents improperly influence the men. Schweers admitted that he paid Fox for meals and gave rides, which was a reference to the “Warden of the North” character in Game of Thrones.
Whitmer, a Democrat, is running for reelection and rarely speaks publicly about the case. She blamed Trump for inciting anger over coronavirus restrictions, and refused to condemn right-wing extremists such as those who were charged in this case. She claimed that Trump was complicit with the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot.