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Wisconsin Dells man charged in Michigan Gov. kidnapping plot

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Brian Higgins
Columbia County Jail
Brian Higgins
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

WISCONSIN DELLS (WKOW) -- A Wisconsin Dells man has been charged in connection to a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Brian Higgins, 51, is charged with material support of an act of terrorism, a felony charge that carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Investigators say Higgins helped in the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer from her vacation home.

Higgins was arrested on Thursday in Wisconsin and will be extradited to Michigan and will be arraigned in Antrim County. A court date has not been scheduled on the state charge.

Signed Arrest Warrant Higgins Redacted (State of Michigan)

The Attorney General’s office charged seven men after the execution of multiple search and arrest warrants Oct. 7 in a joint operation with the U.S. Attorneys of the Eastern and Western districts of Michigan, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Michigan State Police.

Nessel said more arrests are possible, but they're not a sure thing.

"It's hard to say right now," she said. "I will just say the investigation continues, and our intent is to bring any and all persons that are criminally culpable to justice."

Federal charges also have been filed against six others in the alleged conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer.

Including this latest charge against Higgins, a total of 20 state felony charges were filed by Attorney General Nessel against eight individuals known to be members of the militia group Wolverine Watchmen or associates of Wolverine Watchmen.

Investigators say the suspects plotted to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in northern Michigan.

A criminal complaint affidavit filed in Antrim County, which is a part of the 86th District Court in Michigan outlines that the "Wolverine Watchmen", a militia group along with another group, the "Michigan III%ers" engaged in planning various acts of violence, using Facebook to recruit followers

The complaint states that the group went on to to engage in a plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer. Individuals, including Higgins were recruited to perform surveillance of Whitmer's vacation home. The affidavit states Higgins "...while on a nighttime surveillance of the Governor's home, provided by the use of his night-vision goggles for the surveillance. Additionally, he used a mounted digital dash camera located in his vehicle to record the surveillance of the Governor's home in order to aid in kidnapping plans."

As news spread last Thursday, October 8 of the plot, officials in the Columbia County community of Cambria said they were unaware of any FBI investigation or any training facility the plotters could have used, as alleged in the complaint.

But on Friday, Cambria Village President Glen Williams confirmed to 27 News that the FBI did correctly identify Cambria, Wisconsin.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the men and others attended a field training exercise in Cambria July 10 to 12.

According to the complaint, “Attendees participated in firearms training and other combat drills.” It said they also attempted to construct two improvised explosive devices, but they both failed to detonate.

The plotters planned to bring Whitmer to a “secure location” in Wisconsin and put her on “trial” for treason.

The government used informants and undercover agents to thwart the plot. U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge says the men are “violent extremists.”

Michigan's attorney general says law enforcement took steps to protect Whitmer and her family as authorities tracked the men who allegedly plotted for months to kidnap her.

Dana Nessel said, “At times, she and her family had been moved around as a result of activities that law enforcement was aware of.”

Matthew Cash

Senior Executive Producer

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