During Thursday’s trial, one of the three individuals accused of aiding in a plot to abduct Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer took the stand in his own defense, shedding light on his perspective that government-imposed pandemic restrictions had gone too far.
Eric Molitor, aged 39, along with twin brothers William Null and Michael Null, is facing charges related to providing material support for acts of terrorism and firearms offenses in connection with a 2020 plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer at her vacation residence in Antrim County northern Michigan.
Molitor’s decision to testify marked a rare occurrence in this case. Among the four trials conducted in both state and federal courts so far, he is only the second defendant to take the witness stand. The previous defendant who did so was acquitted.
During the first hour of Molitor’s testimony, he primarily discussed his background and shared his views on government, gun rights, and freedom of speech rather than addressing the specific accusations against him.
He voiced his stance on government-imposed COVID-19 regulations: “Nobody should have to tell you to wear a mask. If it’s for your safety, that should be your choice.” Molitor and the Null brothers allegedly supported the plot leaders, Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr.
The group’s social media posts and text messages indicate their frustration with COVID-19 restrictions. However, evidence has also shown that they held strong anti-government beliefs before the pandemic and were preparing for potential civil unrest.
There is no dispute that Molitor drove with Fox to visit Whitmer’s residence in August 2020, while the Null brothers made a nighttime excursion to view the property a few days later.
The trio also participated in paramilitary training exercises. Molitor’s attorney has maintained that he played a minor role and initially did not realize they were scouting Whitmer’s home.
Informants and undercover FBI agents were embedded within the group for several months, gathering recordings and evidence. It is important to emphasize that Governor Whitmer was not physically harmed.
Fourteen individuals were arrested just one month before the November 2020 election. To date, nine have been convicted in either state or federal court, while two have been acquitted.
Following the foiled plot, Governor Whitmer pointed a finger at then-President Donald Trump, alleging that he had provided “comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division.” In response, Trump dismissed the kidnapping plan as a “fabricated scheme” in August 2022.