Read full transcripts of preliminary hearings for 5 of 13 charged in kidnapping plot

Posted at 7:30 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 19:36:48-04

(WXYZ) — On Tuesday, preliminary and bond hearings were held for five of the 13 defendants accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as well as harm law enforcement and bomb the state's Capitol building.

RELATED: How a group of extremists plotted to kidnap a sitting governor

Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta appeared in court Tuesday.

During the hearing, FBI Special Agent Richard J. Trask, a 15-year veteran who works on cases of counter-terrorism and domestic terrorism, testified in detail about the investigation.

At eh beginning of the year, FBI agents began monitoring the defendants' social media pages for "potential issues that they had stated towards the government officials," Trask told the judge, noting that Whitmer, as well as Virginia's governor, were targets.

RELATED: Defendant in kidnapping plot allegedly made threat to hunt and kill police in Canton after he was stopped

The defendants were a part of self-titled militia groups, court documents describe, representing at least five different states.

Transcripts reveal the men would use an encrypted app called “wire” to communicate. Fox, the alleged ringleader, lived in the basement of a vacuum shop near Grand Rapids. He told FBI agents he planned to take Whitmer out to the middle of Lake Michigan in a boat, and would disable the engine and leave her there. Some discussions even included sending a fake delivery person to Whitmer's door to shoot her disguised as a pizza guy.

According to transcripts, at one point the group also allegedly talked about blowing up a bridge near the governor's home to prevent police from getting to her home. It would have cost an estimated $4,000 for the explosives to blow up the bridge.

Read the full transcript of events below:

20-1013 Fox, Et Al. Preliminary Hearing - E-filed by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd