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'Shocking...horrible' — Gov. DeWine reacts to militia group's plot to kidnap Michigan's governor

Says he has 'no knowledge' of similar plots in Ohio
Dewine Whitmer.jpg
Posted at 4:05 PM, Oct 08, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine addressed the case of 13 people who have been accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to a criminal complaint from the FBI and Michigan authorities.

DeWine said what happened in Michigan was “shocking” and “horrible.”

Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta have been named in the federal complaint that stated their militia group reportedly held several meetings over the summer, where they participated in firearms training and combat drills.

Additionally, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that seven other people, linked to the militia group "Wolverine Watchmen" have been charged by the state in relation to the plot.

According to the FBI complaint, they also attempted to build IED devices, which were faulty and did not detonate as planned.

The group then reportedly decided to abduct Gov. Whitmer at her vacation home in western Michigan and take her to a secure location in Wisconsin for "trial."

In August, the group allegedly conducted surveillance of her home on two occasions, federal officials said.

The FBI and Michigan State Police spent hours raiding a home in Hartland, Michigan — a town about an hour west of Detroit — on Wednesday night, which continued into the early morning Thursday.

“Thank heavens officials took the appropriate action to stop this from taking place,” DeWine said. “It is a despicable act. It is horrible and everyone has to denounce this. You want to talk about our political process, this is outside our political process. We have a great process, we have a great system. We are a nation of laws.”

The governor said that while people can rightfully disagree with politicians, the incident that occurred in Michigan is never okay.

“People can disagree with the governor [Whitmer], as many Ohioans do with this governor, and go about it the proper way,” DeWine said. “They can demonstrate and that’s fine. They can file actions in court. They can file things in the state legislature—but this act is just frightening.”

When asked if his security staff believed that he was in any danger from the militia group based on the fact that the group was believed to meet in Dublin, Ohio—just a few miles away from Columbus—DeWine declined to talk about security but said he had no knowledge of any danger presented to him.

“The one thing I learned a number of years ago when I was Lieutenant governor with George Voinovich is that you never talk about security, so I’m not going to talk about security but I was not aware of anything, absolutely had no knowledge.”

DeWine said he has not been briefed about the incident. He also said he is unaware of any case near the level of what happened in Michigan in relation to him or former Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton.

Acton stepped down from her position after a period of intense public criticism from a vocal minority including demonstrations that took place outside of her home.

DeWine recently named Dr. Joan Duwve the new director, but she turned the position down due to the harassment Acton and her family went through.

That harassment, DeWine said, never reached the level of the militia group in Michigan, as far as he’s aware.

“You get people sometimes who say things that clearly go beyond the First Amendment but nothing like this,” DeWine said.

RELATED: The FBI says it has thwarted a militia's plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer