Two brothers who were charged Thursday in a plot to kidnap and kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were identified as the identical twins photographed months earlier carrying long guns during a protest inside the state Capitol.
The two men, William and Michael Null, both 38, were photographed on April 30 standing in a gallery above the Senate during a massive protest against Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office confirmed the men’s identity from a photo previously posted by state Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, on the day of the protest.
The FBI arrested 13 people Thursday in the plot by members and associates of a right-wing militia group, Wolverine Watchmen, to identify the homes of law enforcement officers in order to target them and plan and train for an attack on the state Capitol where they would kidnap government officials, including Whitmer.
Prosecutors also allege those indicted made credible threats of violence to instigate a civil war leading to societal collapse.
Six individuals are facing federal charges specifically related to conspiring to kidnap the governor.
The Null brothers are among seven other people facing state-related terrorism charges connected to the militia plot.
In early 2020, the FBI learned through social media that a group was discussing a violent overthrow of certain government and law enforcement components, according to the criminal complaint obtained by Fox News.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, armed militants dressed in tactical gear stood outside and inside public buildings, raising concerns from some lawmakers who felt threatened.
During one incident, armed demonstrators tried to get on the Capitol floor before being stopped by security.
Polehanki, who took the protest photo nearly six months ago, spoke on the Senate floor after the FBI made sweeping arrests Thursday, reigniting a debate to ban guns at the state Capitol.
“I’m scared, and I’m mad, and I refuse to take it any longer,” Polehanki said.
“When the world was shown the reality of our workplace in the Michigan Capitol, they were appalled, men armed to the teeth stormed our chambers to intimidate us and today we found out these threats were real. There was a plan in place to not only scare us but kidnap us and kill us.”
“We literally dodged death,” she said. “This time. But what about next time? Because there will be a next time.”