'Plan A' in alleged terror plot: 'Execute tyrants' at Capitol, on TV, AG brief says

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

The defendants in an alleged plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer considered a variety of options, including a "Plan A" that called for those involved to storm the state Capitol, where they would "execute tyrants and have it televised," according to a brief filed by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The eight-page brief, filed in October in a bid to block a bond reduction for defendant Pete Musico, 42, of Munith was obtained Thursday by The Detroit News. The document sheds light on two plots the Wolverine Watchmen allegedly formed in June, and how, according to authorities, the group's focus shifted from storming the Capitol building in Lansing to kidnapping the state's chief executive.

Pete Musico

October:Mysterious Wolverine Watchmen militia group 'flew under radar'

Plan A was revealed only after alleged participant Adam Fox checked the backs and chests of Musico, Joe Morrison, Ty Garbin, Paul Bellar, Daniel Harris and Amanda Keller for wires. The plan: Storm the Capitol building in Lansing, "take hostages, execute tyrants and have it televised."

Then there was Plan B: Storm the Capitol while the Legislature was in session, lock every door, and burn down the building with everyone inside.

But there was a problem, which the state says Musico pointed out: the Capitol is a "fishbowl." 

And so he allegedly presented a workaround, one that prosecutors say became "his own Plan B."

"Everyone has addresses," Musico allegedly said, including law enforcement officers and Whitmer, who would become the focus of the kidnapping plot. 

Last month, a Jackson County judge slashed Musico's $10 million bond to $100,000. 

The plot allegedly went beyond talk, and included mandatory tactical training, carried out in Munith, according to the state. 

A June 14 training schedule copied in the government's brief covered a range of topics, from ambush tactics to "when is it the right time to scream for a medic?" 

The end of the section on ambushes includes an admission: "i don't know jack s--- about ambushes."

The section on medical issues offers instruction against oversharing: "No do not send us pictures of rashes in weird places we're not actually doc's."

The state argues that not only did Musico make threats, "which is a crime in and of itself," but that he "conducted overt operations and discussion to put into effect terrorist actions against the government and government servants."

One of those training sessions was allegedly held on June 28 at the Munith property. 

At that session, Musico allegedly said it was time for "real s---," and that people who weren't keeping up on their tactical training, or who didn't want to be a part of what was coming, needed to leave.

But no one left, the government said.

"The primary requirement of the government is the protection of the public," the brief reads. "This case is no different."

Despite the government's arguments, Judge Michael Klaeren of Jackson's 12th District Court still cut Musico's bond by 99%, from $10 million to $100,000. Musico has posted that bond.

Kareem Johnson, Musico's defense attorney, declined comment.

Musico is due in court on Dec. 4 for a probable cause conference. He is one of eight men charged under the state’s anti-terrorism law. Six others face more series charges in federal court in Grand Rapids. Musico faces up to 20 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. 

October:Judge slashes bond for man linked to alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer by 99%

Musico and other Watchmen had experience in the Capitol building two months prior to the talk of Plan A and Plan B, when they took part in an April 30 protest opposing Whitmer's stay-at-home orders.

April:Protesters, some armed, enter Michigan Capitol in rally against COVID-19 limits

That Thursday, protesters entered the building. Some of them carried guns, and some of the armed men, including Musico, were later named in the alleged plot to capture the governor.

Some lawmakers wore bulletproof vests on the floor of the Michigan Senate.

Even before the alleged connection to the Whitmer plot was made, the armed demonstration inside the Capitol sparked a push to ban guns in the building.

Nessel has written in favor of a ban and argues that the Michigan Capitol Commission has the independent authority to ban guns in the Capitol.

However, House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, has argued that's a choice for the Legislature to make.