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FBI raids Michigan home after reported threats to judge, lawyers in Gov. Whitmer kidnapping case

The FBI confirmed the action in Hazel Park was about an "ongoing prosecution in Grand Rapids,” where four men are on trial accused of plotting to kidnap the governor.

FBI agents raided a home near Detroit in connection with reports of threats against a judge and defense lawyers involved in the trial of men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, authorities said Wednesday.

A home was searched Friday in Hazel Park, a suburb just north of Detroit, FBI Special Agent Mara Schneider said in a statement.

"FBI Detroit will work closely with other FBI field offices and with our law enforcement partners across the country to identify the source of any threat made to anyone involved with the ongoing prosecution in Grand Rapids," Schneider said.

"Individuals found responsible for making threats in violation of state and/or federal law will be referred for prosecution in the appropriate jurisdiction."

Four men accused of plotting to kidnap Whitmer are on trial in a federal courthouse in Grand Rapids.

The Detroit News, citing two unidentified sources familiar with the investigation, reported Tuesday that the raid was connected to threats against Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker and defense lawyers Josh Blanchard and Christopher Gibbons.

Jonker is presiding over the trial. Two of the men, Barry Croft and Adam Fox, are accused of being the ringleaders. Blanchard and Gibbons are their attorneys.

A law enforcement official confirmed that Jonker, Blanchard and Gibbons received threats.

As they entered court Wednesday, Blanchard and Gibbons told NBC affiliate WOOD that they had received threats but were not worried about them.

"Marshals are taking good care of us," Blanchard said. "I think we're all comfortable with what they're doing for us."

Gibbons said he had been subjected to "a general threat" but dismissed it as a "lot of big talk."

"I think we're doing good," Gibbons added. "We have security. We're doing fine."

In October 2020, more than a dozen men were arrested on federal and state charges in connection with what authorities said was a foiled plot to kidnap Whitmer.

Whitmer, a Democrat, had drawn the ire of far-right activists and others opposed to her restrictions that year to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Armed protesters took to the streets of Lansing, the state capital, during the early days of Whitmer's coronavirus lockdown orders. Then-President Donald Trump famously tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" that April.