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5 in Antrim Co. will be tried together for plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Photo: Michigan.gov)

Five men are awaiting trial in Antrim County, accused of participating in the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. And in recent days, the court and lawyers have been wrangling over how that trial will be conducted.

Shawn Fix, Eric Molitor, Brian Higgins, Michael Null and William Null all face charges and — in a recent development — will all be tried together.

That brought objections from defense attorneys, says Mardi Link, enterprise reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

She spoke with IPR's Dan Wanschura.


On trying all five cases together: "It's more efficient for a state Attorney General's office to direct all their resources toward a single trial. But there wasn't unanimous agreement about this by the defense. Each defendant has their own attorney. The attorneys for at least two of the men, Michael Null and William Null, who are brothers, have objected to the fairness of this. The defendants are facing similar charges ... but I'd stress that all five have either pleaded 'not guilty' or didn't say anything at their arraignment."

On similarities with other prosecutions: "In state court in Jackson County, Pete Musico, Joseph Morrison, and Paul Bellar were found guilty, and they were found guilty on charges similar to those that are now faced by the Antrim County defendants, with what I think of as a pretty important difference — and that is, the Jackson County defendants were also charged with gang membership. They were charged related to being in the militia group the Wolverine Watchmen. Most of us have heard now of that group. The reason that's important to the Antrim defendants is because the (Attorney General's) office has, at least in a press release, portrayed the Antrim defendants as also members of this group. However, I sat through four day sof a preliminary hearing before these men were charged in Antrim County, and an FBI agent testified that they were not members of that group."

On whether there are more cases pending: "No one else is currently facing trial. But it's notable that prosecutors in the Antrim case say they plan to use statements from witnesses they've labeled as 'unindicted co-conspirators.' And prosecutors have used this tactic before. So far, the court in Antrim County is going to OK its use for this trial. There are 21 of these witnesses. That's a lot of people, and it's unclear whether any of these people could face charges in the future."

Dan Wanschura is the Host and Executive Producer of Points North.
Ed Ronco is IPR's news director.