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Whitmer kidnapping case rocked by allegations FBI told informant to lie, delete text messages

Attorneys for alleged members of kidnapping team are claiming FBI deceit and entrapment of innocent people

Updated: August 17, 2021 - 5:39am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

When the Michigan government announced the foiling of a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in October of 2020, many applauded the law enforcement agency working the case.

Attorneys for the alleged members of the kidnapping plot, however, are claiming Federal Bureau of Investigation deceit and entrapment of innocent people.

Mlive reported Michael Hills, an attorney for Brandon Caserta, one of six men indicted, claimed an FBI special agent told a paid confidential informant identified as “Dan” to lie, delete messages between them, and implicate an innocent third party.

Hills requested government provide all communications between “Dan” and the FBI.

“These text messages indicate the F.B.I. was pushing their paid agent to actively recruit people into an overt act in furtherance of a conspiracy,” Hills wrote.

“Counsel has found further text messages between (special agent) Impola and Dan indicating Dan should destroy his text messages and instruct Dan to lie and accuse an innocent 3rd party of being a federal agent spy to the founder of Wolverine Watchmen.”

Mlive said Hills provided a transcript of the FBI agent, who allegedly texted: “Copy. Best thing to do is deny and accuse somebody else like Trent.” The agent, again allegedly, instructed the informant to “Be sure to delete these.”

If corroborated, the messages would add to allegations the FBI may have entrapped several people in this plot.

“The F.B.I is instructing a paid F.B.I. informant to lie and paint an innocent citizen as an undercover federal agent to a man they claim is the head of a domestic terrorist organization, who they claim is paranoid about being infiltrated by the feds, who they claim has bragged about tossing a Molotov cocktail into a police officer’s house,” Hills said. “This behavior, evidenced by the telephonic communication between F.B.I. handler Impola and Dan, casts a dark shadow over the credibility of this investigation and demonstrates the need for immediate disclosure as demanded.”

However, the government argues these people weren’t entrapped and chose to pursue a radical agenda.

In July 2021, Buzzfeed reported the FBI was involved when the plot began and even used informants to encourage the group to carry out its plans. Militiamen say this is entrapment and claim they couldn’t have advanced the plot without government informants, who went as far as to lead military training simulations.

The lead FBI agent credited with foiling the plot, special Agent Richard Trask, 39, was arrested in July and charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm after allegedly beating and choking his wife after returning home from a swinger sex party.

An affidavit alleges Trask got on top of his wife Sandy in their bed and “grabbed the side of her head and smashed it several times on the nightstand."

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