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UPDATE: Wisconsin Dells man charged in plot to kidnap Michigan governor posts $10,000 bail

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Brian Higgins | Columbia Co. Jail
Brian Higgins appearing before a fudge from Columbia Co. Jail
Virtual Court Hearing for Brian Higgins

Wisconsin Dells man charged in plot to kidnap Michigan governor now in court.

A Wisconsin Dells man charged in plot to kidnap Michigan's governor is now in court.

Posted by WKOW 27 on Monday, October 19, 2020

UPDATE (WKOW) -- A Columbia County deputy confirmed to our Madison affiliate, 27 News, that Brian Higgins posted bail Monday night. Court records show is scheduled to appear for a status conference on November 18.

Higgins' attorney Chris Van Wagner released a statement following this development.

Today, a Columbia County Wisconsin judge set an 11/18 status hearing date on Michigan’s effort to extradite Higgins to Antrim County, as sought by Higgins’ attorney, Chris Van Wagner. The Wisconsin judge then rejected the State’s request for a one million dollar cash bond. Instead, agreeing with Van Wagner that Higgins posed little risk of flight, the judge (Hon. Todd Hepler) released Higgins on a $10,000 cash plus some travel and contact restrictions, also ordering Higgins to surrender his passport to the local clerk of court. Hepler agreed with Van Wagner, noting a relatively thin factual basis set out in the Michigan charges, as well as the fact that Higgins - 51 and a lifelong Wisconsin resident - is presumed innocent, has no criminal history, and has remained here for over a week despite knowing of the ongoing investigation of his suspected activities. 

Van Wagner added that he will reach out to the prosecutors handling the case against Higgins and pursue a dialogue with them, including the possibility that the state might reconsider its original charging decision; Van Wagner also hopes to discuss possible agreement for Higgins’ voluntary appearance in Antrim County before the next Wisconsin hearing date. Van Wagner hopes the Michigan prosecutors will consider allowing Higgins, who disputes the charges against him, to appear there voluntarily in that time frame and then be released on the same bond terms set today. This would save the state of Michigan substantial costs and resources in the extradition proceedings, as well as the costs of transporting and holding Higgins in Michigan while this case wends its way to trial some time next year. 
According to Van Wagner, even the State’s notably sparse factual assertions against Higgins show that he (Higgins) was not part of any militia or anti-government movement, and was in Michigan but once, unlike the other accused men, whose activities were tracked for months by the FBI. Higgins stands alone and apart from those other arrestees. 

COLUMBIA COUNTY (WKOW) — A Wisconsin Dells man charged in connection with a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had cash bail set Monday at $10,000.

Brian Higgins, 51, is charged in Michigan with material support of an act of terrorism and appeared via Zoom from the Columbia County jail.

Columbia County District Attorny Brenda Yaskal asked that Higgins be held without bail.

However if the judge decided to impose bail, Yaskal asked it be set at $1 million.

Judge Todd Hepler, however, imposed the $10,000 amount.

Michigan now has 30 days to issue a governor's warrant for extradition.

But Higgins' attorney, Christopher Van Wagner, questioned whether Whitmer could sign it because she was the target of the alleged plot.

Michigan 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.

In a court hearing in Michigan Friday for others charged in the alleged plot, a prosecutor maintained Higgins recorded surveillance video of Whitmer's Michigan vacation home Sept. 12 with a dash camera and unwittingly turned the video over to an FBI informant.

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 2 p.m. Nov. 18, in Columbia County Circuit Court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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