Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks with the media after the second Gubernatorial Debate at Oakland University Tuesday evening. Sydney Hastings-Wilkins/Daily. Buy this photo.

Three more men have been convicted in the 2020 plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Thirteen men were charged with aiding in the plot to kidnap the governor, two of whom were previously convicted in August. Six of the men faced federal charges for orchestrating the plan.

Of the 13 men, seven were charged at the state level by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, including Paul Bellar, Pete Musico and his son-in-law Joe Morrison. Two men were acquitted.

Following a probable cause hearing in March 2021, it was announced that Morrison, Musico and Bellar would not face charges for false report or threat of terrorism but would still be charged with gang membership, providing material support for terrorism and felony firearm.

After a three-week trial, Bellar, Musico and Morrison were found guilty in Jackson County for providing “material support” for a terrorist act as members of the Wolverine Watchmen. The three men were also convicted on counts of gang membership and firearm violations. The three-week trial was the first of the state trials connected to the kidnapping plot allegations. Adam Fox and Barry Croft were federally convicted in August for leading the plot. In the October trial, the Michigan attorney general’s office had to prove Bellar, Musico and Morrison aided Fox or Croft in the plan. 

The men each face up to 42 years in prison when they are sentenced Dec. 15. They were convicted of providing material support for terrorism, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years. They also face up to 20 years for gang membership and an additional two years for a felony weapons charge. 

Whitmer thanked Nessel and the prosecution for the verdict.

In a press release, Nessel also praised the verdict. 

“Make no mistake, the quick actions of law enforcement saved lives,” Nessel said. “We are pleased the jury clearly understood that. These defendants believed violence was an appropriate way to address an ideological grievance. Today’s verdict sends a clear message they were wrong.”

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