Federal judge schedules trial date for six men who plotted to kidnap Michigan governor

A federal judge has assigned a trial date for the six men charged with plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan

Scheduled for March 23, defendants Adam Dean Fox, Barry Gordon Croft, Jr, Ty Gerard Garbin, Kaleb James Franks, Daniel Joseph Harris, Brandon Michael-Ray Caserta will make their first appearance in court for the trial.

All six defendants were indicted on conspiracy charges for planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in northern Michigan. The penalties carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Six men were indicted for their alleged role in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: Adam Dean Fox, Barry Gordon Croft Jr., Ty Gerard Garbin, Kaleb James Franks, Daniel Joseph Harris and Brandon Michael-Ray Caserta.

Chief Judge Robert Jonker scheduled the trial for 8:30 a.m. at a federal courthouse in Grand Rapids, where he will oversee the trial.

The six men were arrested in early October after FBI officers raided their homes and took them into custody. A complaint filed in federal court accused the six men of plans to form a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights in an effort to be self-sufficient. 

The group had met with seven others in Dublin, Ohio, where they discussed ways to achieve their goals through violent means. 

One man, Fox, said it would need 200 men to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages. If successful, the men would try to Michigan governor for 'treason.' Five of the men are from Michigan, while Croft is from Delaware.

RELATED: 6 men arrested in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The men were allegedly upset over COVID-19 policies that the governor had directed under executive action. 

Defense attorneys for the men said their clients were "big talkers" who didn't intend to follow through on their plan. 

According to the FBI, it learned of the plan through a confidential source who then used undercover agents over several months who attended militia group meetings. 

The plotters participated in several training sessions with explosives and firearms in preparation.

The planned violence has been cited as a precursor to much of the tensions that have inflamed the country, leading to other armed protests and a riot at the U.S. Capitol.

A final pretrial conference is set for March 10.