GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It didn’t take long for militia members to accept their newest member. They needed someone who could make things explode, according to federal prosecutors.
He went by “Red” and was introduced by Big Dan as a bomb maker.
It didn’t hurt that Red could show off a video on his phone from the time he made a Chevrolet Suburban explode.
Turns out, that video was produced by the FBI, and Red was an undercover FBI agent.
The feds had hoped FBI agent Timothy Bates could testify anonymously, fearing that revealing his identity could threaten his safety and compromise other investigations, but the judge wouldn’t allow that.
Bates testified on the 11th day of the trial for four men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. He was part of a parade of federal agents, mostly from the FBI, who took the stand on Monday. Most testified about weapons, ammunition and other gear they seized during the investigation.
Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Bates told the jury that Big Dan, an informant whose real name is Dan Chappel, introduced him to the group at the militia training site in Luther, near Cadillac.
The feds have said they injected him into the group to keep militia members from finding a real bomb-maker.
Bates said he told them he knew someone in mining who could get him the explosives.
Soon, they reached a $4,000 deal.
The jury heard secret recordings of Fox telling Red they’d have to raise the money later.
There was also talk about getting flashbangs, which create a distraction.
In a secretly recorded conversation with Red, somebody joked: “Can we get a variety pack?”
Also for the first time, it was revealed the plan was to blow up two bridges in Elk Rapids, not just one, to slow down the police response as they kidnapped the governor from her nearby cottage.
Federal prosecutors said they hope to wrap up their case on Tuesday, which means the defense could start on Wednesday.