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3 acquitted in final trial of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot

By Lauren del Valle, CNN

(CNN) — Three men were acquitted Friday on all charges against them in connection to allegations that they were involved in a 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Eric Molitor, William Null and Michael Null were each acquitted on one count of providing material support for a terrorist act and possessing a firearm when committing or attempting to commit a felony.

Prosecutors alleged the men targeted the Democratic governor’s northern Michigan vacation cottage and conducted surveillance of her home.

Molitor and the Null brothers, visibly emotional hearing the jury’s verdict in a Michigan courtroom, are the last of a group of 14 prosecuted in state and federal courts in connection to the plot.

Eight men were charged on the state level and another six were indicted on federal charges in 2020. Ultimately, nine were convicted or pleaded guilty in the case, and five were acquitted.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the government’s efforts in the case “undoubtedly saved lives.”

“While today’s verdicts are not what we hoped for, the successes we have achieved throughout these cases, in both state and federal courts, sends a clear message that acts of domestic terrorism will not be tolerated in our state,” Nessel said in a statement Friday.

Authorities have alleged that, in 2020, the men charged in the case conspired with others to “unlawfully seize, kidnap, abduct and carry away, and hold for ransom and reward” Whitmer. Authorities have said the men were planning to kidnap the Democratic governor from a vacation home and blow up a bridge to delay law enforcement, but they were arrested first.

Defense attorneys in the case have at times maintained an entrapment defense, arguing that the FBI coerced the defendants to drive the plot forward through a collection of undercover agents and confidential informants.

Adam Fox, the man whom authorities said was the leader of the plot, was sentenced in December to 16 years in prison.

This story has been updated with additional details and background information.

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