BELLAIRE — Four men facing state charges for their connection with the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have had two of their court proceedings adjourned after some of the attorneys involved asked for more time to review all the related material.
What that means is Michael Null, 38, of Plainwell, William Null, 38, of Shelbyville, Eric Molitor, 36, of Cadillac, and Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville, will have to have their probable cause conferences and preliminary examinations rescheduled, according to the 86th District Court in Antrim County. The probable cause conferences were scheduled for Oct. 21, while the prelims were scheduled for Oct. 28. New dates for the probable cause conferences and prelims have yet to be scheduled.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office announced on Oct. 8 the joint law enforcement effort that, after months of work, culminated on Oct. 7 in the execution of a series of search warrants and arrest warrants related to acts of terrorism under Michigan state law.
In total, 19 state felony charges were filed by Nessel against both Michael Null and William Null, Molitor, Fix, Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford, and Pete Musico, 42, and Joseph Morrison, 42, who live together in Munith. All seven are said to be known members of the militia group, Wolverine Watchmen, or associates of Wolverine Watchmen, according to the attorney general’s office.
On Oct. 15, Nessel charged an eighth individual for his connection with a plan of domestic terrorism that included storming the Michigan Capitol and harming government officials. Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, was arrested on Oct. 15 on a charge of material support of an act of terrorism, a 20-year felony.
Higgins will be extradited to Michigan to be arraigned in Antrim County 86th District Court on the charge. Court dates have not been scheduled. The Nulls, Molitor, and Fix all face charges of material support of an act of terrorism and felony firearms.
The suspects are alleged to have called on the groups’ members to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers to target them; made threats of violence to instigate a civil war leading to societal collapse; and engaged in the planning and training for an operation to attack the state Capitol building and kidnap government officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Through the efforts of more than 200 state and federal law enforcement officials — including experts from outside of Michigan — officers executed a series of search warrants and arrest warrants in more than a dozen cities around the state, including Belleville, Cadillac, Canton, Charlotte, Clarkston, Grand Rapids, Luther, Munith, Orion Township, Ovid, Portage, Shelby Township, and Waterford.
The charges against these eight men are subject to change after a complete review of the evidence obtained through the warrants and differ from those charges issued at the federal level.
Michael Null, William Null, and Molitor were arraigned on Oct. 8 in 86th District Court, while Musico and Morrison were arraigned in Jackson County’s 12th District Court also on Oct. 8. Bellar has yet to be arraigned as he was arrested in Columbia, South Carolina on Oct. 7, and the attorney general’s office is working to extradite him to Michigan for arraignment on charges in Jackson County. He is scheduled to be picked up from South Carolina by Oct. 27.
The Justice Department charged Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta of Michigan and Barry Croft of Delaware, with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer in federal courts.
The charges in question are only accusations. These men are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The prosecution has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.