Fox News has reported that three men convicted of supporting a plan to kidnap Michigan Democratic in 2020 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were just given long prison sentences.
According to the network, Pete Musico was sentenced by Judge Thomas Wilson in a Jackson County courtroom on Thursday to a dozen years behind bars.
Defendants were part of a paramilitary group
Musico’s father-in-law, Joe Morrison, and fellow co-defendant Paul Bellar received prison sentences of 10 years and seven years, respectively.
The trio were found guilty in October of of providing “material support” for a terrorist act along with weapons offenses and membership in a gang.
Prosecutors alleged that all three defendants belonged to a paramilitary organization called the Wolverine Watchmen.
However, defense attorneys for the men stressed that they were not among those who actually traveled to northern Michigan in order to surveil the governor’s home. Nor did they participate in armed training exercises to prepare for her planned kidnapping.
Governor says she fears for “the safety of everyone” when she’s in public
Fox News noted that the governor submitted her impact statement via video prior to the sentences being handed down, saying, “A conspiracy to kidnap and kill a sitting governor in the state of Michigan is a threat to democracy itself.”
“This kind of violent extremism has become disturbingly common. Online radicalization is spiraling into real-life action,” Whitmer insisted.
“Political leaders and their families on both sides of the aisle are being threatened and attacked,” the governor said, adding, “I worry about the safety of everyone near me when I am in public.”
“I am reluctant to share too much because I worry that it could endanger a loved one, a staff member, a police officer on my security detail,” she complained.
For their part, Morrison and Bellar both made a point of offering apologies to the governor during their sentencing hearing.
“Your honor, I am not the boogeyman that the prosecution is trying to claim that I am,” Morrison was quoted as telling Judge Wilson.
“I’m a father, I am a husband, I am a friend and a neighbor,” he declared. “I made mistakes. I acted recklessly and carelessly with my words. I got around the wrong people, I fed off their energy.”
“I send my sincere apology to the governor, to her family and all law enforcement who were affected by what conspired with this whole thing… If I could, your honor, I’d take it all back,” he concluded.