GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — New details reveal a group of extremists charged in a plot to kidnap and presumably execute Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, allegedly planned to take hostages in the state capitol and execute them on live television.
A filing by the Michigan Attorney General's Office argued against the release of Pete Musico, 42, of Munith, one of the eight men charged with state level terrorism charges in the thwarted kidnapping plot in early October. Six other men face federal charges for their role in the plan.
According to a pretrial brief filed in Jackson County court, Adam Fox, identified by the FBI as the accused ringleader in the alleged terrorism plot, told members of the Wolverine Watchmen that one would get out of the Michigan State Capitol alive under the initial plan devised by Fox.
Joe Morrison, Pete Musico, Ty Garbin, Paul Bellar, Daniel Harris, and Adam Fox were all in attendance at the 2nd amendment rally at the state capitol building in Lansing on June 18, according to pretrial brief.
The Attorney General's Office said Fox proposed recruiting 200 men to storm the Capitol while the legislature was in session, take hostages, and execute them on television over the course of week. A secondary plan was to storm the Capitol, lock the exits, and set fire to the building, according to the court filing.
Court records show Musico hatched his own "Plan B" to target the homes of politicians and kidnap them, according to the filings.
Musico and Joseph Morrison were founding members of the militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen. Members were required to participate in tactical training on Musico's Jackson County property and encouraged to identify law enforcement officer’s homes in order to target them, according to the filing.
Court records showed a chat thread on an encrypted platform following that day, Musico declared that he was attempting to get the State Troopers to touch him.
Court filings revealed Musico admitted at a March 2020 tactical training to throwing a Molotov cocktail into the home of a police officer who pulled him over. Musico stated he waited outside the back door of the house and planned to shoot the officer when he came out, but ultimately decided not to.
In a post-arrest interview, Musico admitted that he has advocated violence to the group, according to the court filing.
The Attorney General's Wolverine Watchmen, also had a private Facebook group for "Boojahidden only," a play on the term "mujahedeen," or guerrilla fighters in Islamic countries and a reference to the "Boogaloo," a Second Civil War anticipated by a group called the "Boogaloo Boi."
Musico eventually had his bail reduced from $10 million to $100,000, and he was released on a GPS tether.
A defense attorney argued during an Oct 23 hearing that Musico actually was kicked out of the group because he was too “soft” and wouldn't commit to violence.
Musico has a previous criminal history. The AG's office said Musico, under the name, Phillip Westenberger had a juvenile adjudication of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in September 1993. Court Records showed he was convicted of Felony Forgery in August 1995.