Kidnap suspect to remain in Columbia County jail for now

COLUMBIA COUNTY (WKOW) — A Wisconsin Dells man charged in connection with a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will remain in a Wisconsin jail for now.

Brian Higgins, 31, is charged in Michigan with material support of an act of terrorism and appeared Friday via Zoom from the Columbia County jail.

Authorities say Higgins was one of the men involved in a scheme to storm Michigan’s Capitol building and kidnap officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Higgins's attorney, Chris Van Wagner submitted a letter to the court in support of letting Higgins out of jail on his signature as this extradition process is pending.

"He has never been convicted of a crime," the letter states. "He runs an IT consulting business from his home...he is facing only a 20-year maximum felony charge in Michigan. That's it. On a similar case in this state, were you to set bond on an out of state resident, it would either be a signature bond or, at worst, a modest cash amount," Van Wagner writes.

Van Wagner also maintains the criminal affidavit against Higgins lacks witness accounts of alleged wrongdoing and fails to establish probable cause. "What they sent is incredibly sparse," he says of Michigan prosecutors.

Seven other men purportedly linked to an extremist paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen were charged in state court last week with providing material support for terrorist acts.

Federal charges also have been filed against six others in the alleged conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer.

Higgins will next appear at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, in Columbia County Circuit Court.

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