Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.
Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.

Alleged Kidnap Conspirator Denies Plan To Kidnap Governor

04/01/22 10:10 AM By John Reurink

(Source: MIRS.news, Published 03/31/2022) Alleged kidnap conspirator Daniel Harris says he did not plan to storm the State Capitol or kidnap the Governor, and the FBI informant who testified otherwise is "a bitch."


Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth asked Harris if he left the Wolverine Watchmen after learning of the nature of their discussions, noting that the informant immediately called the police because he "was so bothered" by the topics.

 

"Well, he's a bitch," Harris replied.

 

"Tell me about that sir," Roth countered.

 

A defiant Harris replied: "Next question."

 

Roth persisted, "Nope, tell me about it. Why is Dan Chappel a bitch?"

 

Harris, clearly defiant, eventually explained that Chappel is "weak" because he expressed concern about a meme depicting violence even though he claimed to have saved a U.S. Navy SEAL sniper who served four tours in the Iraq War.

 

"You went to Iraq, came out hurt, but words hurt you, words scare you?" Harris said. "You're a bitch. Words are words."

 

That tone permeated Harris' time on the stand under cross-examination as Roth arguably questioned the truthfulness of Harris' testimony.

 

Harris was the only one of four defendants on trial for conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen WHITMER who testified during the 14-day trial, which goes to the jury Friday after closing arguments.

 

The trial for Harris, Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft Jr. and Adam Dean Fox is being heard before U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker, who at one point told Roth and Harris to "take it down a notch" as they repeatedly spoke over one another.

 

Harris' early testimony outlined his background, including joining the Marine Corps, serving in Asia and his family. He described himself as a talented infantryman who was able "to have fun with things like rocket launchers and grenades."

 

"I took great pride in the fact I never dropped a rocket shot and never missed a grenade throw," he said.

 

Under questioning from his attorney, Harris testified his participation in the Wolverine Watchmen was to retain his infantry skills. His activities – building an explosive device, a shoot house and teaching first aid – were his response to a situation where there "is no government and everyone is coming at us like Red Dawn," a reference to a 1984 film about a Russian invasion in the United States.

 

Harris described the Watchmen as a group of guys who wanted to "drink beer, shoot guns and talk about girls."

 

"Did you agree to storm the Capitol of Michigan? Did you agree to kidnap the Governor?" Harris' attorney Julia Kelly repeatedly asked him.

 

"Absolutely not," Harris replied each time.

 

At one point, he said: "I actually disagreed" with the suggestion to kidnap Whitmer.

 

However, on cross-examination, Harris acknowledged he suggested ways to kill Whitmer, including "doming her," which meant shooting her in the head. He also suggested that someone pose as a pizza delivery person who could shoot her when she opened the door.

 

"If she has a doorbell," he replied to Roth's question.

 

Harris also attacked the government's main witnesses – convicted conspirators Ty GARBIN and Kaleb FRANKS, both of whom testified earlier that the defendants actively planned to kidnap and kill Whitmer, and they were not entrapped by undercover FBI agents or confidential informants.

 

"Liars," Harris called both Franks and Garbin.

 

Harris also tried to distance himself from Fox and Croft, the latter of whom he called a "stoned crazy pirate."

 

The trial was expected to last upwards of five weeks, but a number of defense witnesses were permitted not to testify after invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

 

Those witnesses were expected to testify about their perspectives of the Wolverine Watchmen's field training exercises as well as conversations at bonfires and militia meetings.

 

The prosecution, however, said some of those potential witnesses actively participated in the conversations, including one who suggested that if everyone stays silent "everyone walks."

 

Attorneys for Caserta, Croft and Fox did not call witnesses to the stand, but Kelly did call two women who attended the training in Cambria, Wisconsin, in July 2020, and both testified that they were not aware of any plot.

 

"I was the only girl there for a bit so they were just talking about guy stuff, porn and politicky things," Megan Cooley, who attended the Wisconsin meeting with her boyfriend, Jared Buchesne testified.

 

The government said Buchesne, who invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, is the one who commented that everyone can walk, if they remain silent.

 

Each of the four defendants are charged with conspiracy to kidnap.

 

Croft, Fox and Harris are also charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and Croft and Harris are charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device. Harris is the only defendant charged with possession of an unregistered short-barreled rifle.

 

They face up to life in prison if convicted as charged.

 

Governor Speaks About Trial

 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told media today at a press conference at Kettering University in Flint that she has seen the headlines from the trial and she has found it "jarring," according to mLive.

 

"I'm an ordinary person in an extraordinary role serving in an extraordinary time. It's been challenging," she said. "I think the violence that has become normalized in our society does a disservice to every one of us.

 

“I just hope that whatever the outcome is that it is the right one and that it is just and that others take away from this that we can’t make idle threats, but we certainly can’t make legitimate plans to hurt one another when we disagree," she added. "We settle our differences in America at the ballot box, and that’s how it should be.”