According to a legal brief recently filed by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, the fourteen militiamen who were arrested in October for plotting to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also planned to storm the capitol, capture hostages, live stream a horrific series of executions, and target the entire elected state leadership and members of the state legislature.
The revelations come as Michigan judges have quietly released three of the plotters, including Wolverine Watchmen cofounder Pete Musico.
The attorney general’s office wrote: “Plan A consisted of recruiting 200 men and then storm the Capitol building in Lansing while Congress was in session. [By congress, the plotters evidently meant the state legislature]. They were to take hostages, execute tyrants and have it televised. It would take about one week and that no one is coming out alive.”
The brief reads, “The secondary plan was to storm the Capitol building in Lansing when Congress was in session. They would then lock the entrances/exits to the structure. They would then set the building on fire.”
As of the time of this writing, no national media outlet has reported these details, and the Democratic Party has maintained total silence beyond the state attorney general herself.
According to prosecutors, the conspirators also planned to research the residential addresses of a number of unnamed political figures and execute them at their homes.
Officials also released additional details of the military training conducted by the plotters, who wrote a schedule for one training session held in Wisconsin on June 14 on the property of a leading member of the fascist Oath Keepers organization there. According to the schedule, the plotters planned to address “basic fundamentals for the new members,” “driver down situation,” “taking a (possible) hostile vehicle over,” “planned ambushes,” “L shape ambush” and “when is the right time to screen for a medic?”
The Wolverine Watchmen internally described themselves as a Boogaloo group. According to a private Facebook page used by the group, their purpose was “to network and assemble and recruit like-minded individuals.” They used anti-lockdown demonstrations sponsored by Republican state legislators and promoted by Trump to discuss their plans and recruit new forces.
The Attorney General’s office made these arguments in order to oppose a bond request by Pete Musico, the cofounder of the Wolverine Militia. But after reviewing this evidence, Michael Klaeren granted bond at an estimated $10,000, allowing Musico to walk out of jail. Klaeren had previously reduced Musico’s bond from $10 million.
On Wednesday, prosecutors also announced that 38-year-old Shawn Fix was released on bond in Antrim County, Michigan Tuesday. Weeks ago, Wisconsin resident Brian Higgins was released from bail by county judge Todd Hepler after posting $10,000 in cash, well below the $1 million requested by the local district attorney’s office.
These figures and the bail terms are lenient given the gravity of the crimes for which the conspirators stand accused.
Musico was merely ordered to wear an ankle monitor, while Higgins was told he could not leave the state of Wisconsin. The plotters will be monitored by friendly police officers, including many who belong to extreme right-wing groups that have praised the plotters and defended their actions as lawful.
MilitiaWatch founder Hampton Stall, who researches far-right groups and maintains a database of their activity, told the World Socialist Web Site: “There’s often a lot of big talk among militia groups that can be dismissed as idle threats, but the specificity and extremely high level of violence included in the fantasies documented in the attorney general’s brief is a massive red flag, especially given how active this core of actors had been.”
Stall said the October arrests of 14 militiamen “have not slowed recruitment among militia groups I track, and it seems that leading up to the election recruitment has only continued to rise, both among leaders advertising their groups and new recruits seeking to connect to armed movements.”
Far-right networks continue to organize throughout the country in response to Trump’s baseless claims that Biden’s victory was only the product of electoral fraud.
Media Matters reported Thursday that fascist Oath Keeper leader Steven Rhodes “says he has men stationed outside of DC ready to engage in violence on Trump’s order.” Rhodes told fascist online personality Alex Jones that “We’ll also be on the outside of D.C., armed, prepared to go in, if the president calls us up.”
Rhodes made these comments on a YouTube program dedicated to promoting this weekend’s planned pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” demonstrations aimed at overturning the result of the presidential election won by Joe Biden. Small demonstrations took place last weekend in various states and were far outnumbered by demonstrations celebrating Trump’s defeat.
The presence of the Proud Boys at these demonstrations came after their leader Enrique Tarrio said, “We’re rolling out. Standby order has been rescinded”—a reference to Trump’s statement at the first presidential debate that the Proud Boys should “stand back and stand by.”
At one far-right rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania last weekend, armed Proud Boys gathered with signs that said, “Standing Back and Standing By For My President” and “Free Kyle,” a reference to Kyle Rittenhouse, the fascist who murdered two people protesting police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August. The Harrisburg demonstration was held at the state capitol building and Republican state legislators were pictured visiting and supporting the armed fascist demonstrators.
Pennsylvania and Michigan are two of four battleground states with a Republican legislature and Democratic governor, where Trump has focused on appeals to elect alternate slates of electors, overriding the popular vote. Joe Biden won in Michigan by roughly 150,000 votes, and in Pennsylvania by over 50,000 votes.
Even though the evidence points to a far broader assault on Democratic officials and state legislators, the Democratic Party has also remained completely silent on the assault, effectively silencing the state attorney general’s office and its warnings that the plotters should not be released from jail. The Democrats greatest fear is that informing the public of the plans to carry out mass executions of elected officials will provoke mass opposition to Trump’s attempt to override the election by means of violence and police repression.