More time sought to indict in governor kidnapping case

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FILE - In an Oct. 8, 2020 file photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. The governor delivered remarks addressing Michiganders after the Michigan Attorney General, Michigan State Police, U.S. Department of Justice, and FBI announced state and federal charges against 13 members of two militia groups who were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill the governor. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP File)
FILE - In an Oct. 8, 2020 file photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. The governor delivered remarks addressing Michiganders after the Michigan Attorney General, Michigan State Police, U.S. Department of Justice, and FBI announced state and federal charges against 13 members of two militia groups who were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill the governor. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP File)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Federal prosecutors asked a judge Monday to give them an extra 40 days until mid-December to seek a grand jury indictment against six men in an alleged scheme to kidnap Michigan's governor, saying they're sorting through evidence, including explosive-device components.

The recently recovered components and firearms must be analyzed to determine whether additional charges will be pursued, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said in a court filing.

Authorities allege members of two anti-government paramilitary groups plotted the kidnapping of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, before the election. Six men are charged in federal court. Eight more believed to be members or associates of a group called the Wolverine Watchmen are charged in state court with providing material support for terrorist acts.

Defense attorneys have said the alleged plot was much talk, no action.

The six in federal court were arrested Oct. 7 and charged under a criminal complaint. A judge subsequently said there was enough evidence for prosecutors to seek an indictment by the first week of November.

“The facts upon which the grand jury must base its determination are unusual for their sheer volume in this case,” Kessler said in seeking an extension. “The evidence includes hundreds of hours of undercover audio recordings that have yet to be catalogued and transcribed, and as of the time of this motion, over 13,000 pages of encrypted text messages.”

Kessler said defense lawyers expressed no objection to an extension.