Lead FBI agent in alleged Whitmer “kidnapping” plot arrested for domestic violence


KALAMAZOO, MI- The Detroit News is reporting that Richard Trask, an FBI Special Agent has been arrested in connection with a domestic disturbance involving his wife this past weekend.

Trask, 39 was the FBI agent widely credited with helping to prevent an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) last year.

Trask, 39, of Kalamazoo, MI., was arrested Monday and charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, less than murder in connection with the incident.

He was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond after his arraignment in a Kalamazoo court. The charge carries with it the possibility of up to 10 years in prison.

Ironically, Trask’s arrest comes as a criminal case against the five men charged with the alleged plot against Whitmer saw new allegations come forth against the FBI last week.

Defense lawyers last week slammed the government’s case and have suggested that a second FBI agent has been actively trying to sabotage the defense teams.

Trask has been an FBI agent since 2011 and was the public profile of the FBI in the Whitmer case, testifying in federal court about the investigation.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune said they reached out to the FBI for comment and was rebuffed by an FBI spokesperson.

“In accordance with FBI policy, the incident is subject to internal review, and I cannot comment further at this time,” said Detroit FBI spokeswoman Mara Schneider.

Speaking to Trask’s involvement in the alleged kidnapping case, a former FBI official said his arrest could serve as a distraction and provide the defense with ammunition to attack Trask’s credibility.

“It’s the last thing you want for a major case like this,” said Andy Arena, who formerly ran the FBI’s Detroit field office.

“Any time you give the defense any ammunition, it’s not good.”

Arena told the Detroit News that Trask would be prohibited from carrying a gun while he’s out on bond.

“If you can’t carry a weapon, then you’re not going to work as a street agent,” he said. “He’s going to be suspended or put on restricted duty.”

The paper said they reached out to Trask for comment, however he did not respond. They also noted that no defense lawyer was named on court records.

Trask, who looks more like a reincarnation of Dan Hagerty’s “Grizzly Adams” character, opened a gym at his property in a town adjacent to Kalamazoo, and offers CrossFit training, social media and state business filings revealed.

Trask also gives the appearance of somewhat of a narcissist, having pictures on his Instagram showing him exercising, flexing his muscles and posing shirtless. 

Last week, defense lawyers for the defendants in the Whitmer case gave a hint about how they will approach putting on a defense in the case, which drew significant media attention when it came to light.

This was at a time when people were tiring of restrictive coronavirus mandates from tyrannical governors, with Whitmer identified as being one of the worst. Mainstream left-wing media seized on the arrests to paint lockdown and mask opponents as right-wing extremists.

Court filings in the case indicate the defense plans to work on suppressing evidence, going after the FBI and claiming the men were entrapped by FBI agents and operatives who actively conspired, and in some cases fomented the plot.

The News said that five men are currently awaiting trial, scheduled for October in federal court in Grand Rapids. One defendant, however, has asked U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker for a change of venue, citing media conduct and coverage had “corrupted the potential trial atmosphere.”

Trask’s arrest further complicates the case against the alleged conspirators and is the second potential roadblock to emerge in the past few months.

In March, prosecutors indicted an informant who was revealed to have helped the FBI infiltrate the plot, according to sources.

Wisconsin resident Stephen Robeson was indicted after he had long been cooperating with federal investigators, a development that may indicate the relationship between Robeson and the FBI is fractured and prosecutors do not plan on using him in their case, according to legal experts.

However, this may provide an opening for defense attorneys to call him as a witness and go after his credibility.

Last January, Trask testified in federal court against Barry Croft, a Delaware resident and member of the alleged plot who was identified as the group’s bomb maker. He also identified Croft as the national leader of the “Three Percenters,” a small militia group that was one of the participants in the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol.

Trask testified about multiple undercover recordings that captured Croft as well as other conspirators. At that time, prosecutors wanted Croft held without bond, alleging he was a “violent extremist.”

Meanwhile, defense attorneys have claimed that their clients were basically all talk and were simply exercising their Constitutional rights to free speech, however never carried out any type of kidnapping plot.

“Croft was saying he was granted permission from God to commit murder, correct?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler asked Trask.

“Correct,” Trask said.

Based on his involvement in the case, he is expected to play a significant role in the October trial. However given Trask’s arrest, his credibility is an area which the defense would be expected to attack aggressively.

“In an investigation like this, you’re always trying to ensure you have more than one person who can testify about that piece of evidence,” Arena said. “So if something happens, you’ve got that backup.”

The other lead investigator has also had his veracity questioned by defense attorneys.

FBI Special Agent Henrik Impola has been accused attempting to sabotage the defense teams.

Attorney Joshua Blanchard, representing Croft revealed the existence of a recording where Impola talked about creating “disarray and chaos” for defense lawyers, whom he referred to as “paid liars.”

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Last year, we reported on the plot to kidnap Whitmer. For more on that, we invite you to:


The following contains editorial content by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI- Last week, the mainstream media breathlessly reported that “right wing extremists” had launched an effort to kidnap the far-left governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.

Of course Whitmer seized on those reports, blaming President Donald Trump’s “extremist rhetoric” for inflaming people to the point where they were going to take Whitmer hostage. However, details have emerged which may derail the narrative.

The Detroit Free Press reported on a bail hearing that took place on Tuesday and buried deep inside the story is what could be considered an important piece of information, and which may actually show that the “right wing militia” was in fact led to hatch the plot at the behest of one of the FBI informants.

According to defense attorney Scott Graham, he said that it was in fact informants and undercover agents who “pushed” the others to engage in illegal activity.

“One of the most active leaders was your informant,” Graham said.

The defense attorneys contended in their arguments to release the defendants on bail that there had been no probable cause to arrest and charge the suspects, saying that they had no “operational plans to do anything,” and that they had in fact been “engaged in legal activities—including talking in encrypted group chats and practicing military exercises with lawfully owned guns,” according to Graham.

Graham said that the FBI informant who wore wires to the militia meetings acted in more than just the capacity of an undercover observer. The question became were these militia members victims of an entrapment scheme by the FBI? Certainly that is the narrative that Graham is trying to pursue. Was the FBI trying to provoke a domestic terrorist attack as something of a false flag maneuver, and if so, why?

Clearly, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility after all we have discovered about the FBI’s complicity since 2016 in trying to take down the Trump administration. FBI Director Christopher Wray recently tried to downplay the violent, left-wing group Antifa, while trying to bolster the existence of right wing extremism.

An overwhelming majority of FBI agents are good and honorable people. The same cannot be said about their leadership, with former FBI Director James Comey and former Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe being outed as being intimately tied to the plot to undermine President Trump.

Is it too much to think that perhaps there is more to this “plot” to kidnap Whitmer than meets the eye? Probably not.

We have seen that the so-called “deep state,” the inner cabal of Washington insiders is not above trying to affect a presidential election. The whole “Russia hoax” fiasco was perpetrated in large part by Comey and willing accomplices in the FBI, such as Peter Strzok and Lisa Paige. Was the FBI trying to manufacture an “October surprise” to influence the upcoming election? Who knows? Possible? Yes.

Still, given what we now know about the FBI and more recently the CIA, it is possible.

When the plot to allegedly kidnap Whitmer went public, the usual suspects in the mainstream DNC media jumped on the opportunity to tie it into President Trump, blaming his so-called “anti-lockdown” and “pro-militia” rhetoric for the plot, even though leaders of the group were by and large anti-Trump.

In speaking to the “plot” in Michigan, Graham offered the argument that there wasn’t in fact a plot to kidnap Whitmer, but it was more along the lines of “military wannabes” who engaged in “big talk.”

“Have you ever dealt with big talkers?” Graham asked an FBI agent during cross examination. “There’s kind of a military-wanna-be theme that runs between the militias.”

Graham was questioning FBI special agent Richard Trask about testimony that claimed a minimum of 13 so-called militia members had plotted to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home and either leave her in the middle of Lake Michigan or take her to Wisconsin where she would be tried for treason.

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Under examination, Trask was asked how the members of the militia had planned on getting Whitmer to Wisconsin. The agent couldn’t answer the question, and could only say that there were allegedly audio recordings of the suspects saying that they were planning on taking Whitmer to another state, including Wisconsin.

Again, the agent was asked by Graham what the suspects were going to do with Whitmer after leaving her in the lake, only saying that the alleged ringleader of the group, Adam Fox had said they were going to “take her out on a boat and leave her in the middle of Lake Michigan.”

Graham represents Kaleb Franks, 26, who ended up having his bail denied on Tuesday after the judge was convinced he was a danger to society. Two other suspects, Daniel Harris, 23 and Brandon Caserta, 32, were also refused bond.

The remaining bond hearings have been scheduled for Friday, this time for Fox and Ty Garbin, 24.

The five defendants appeared in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, where the case involving Whitmer was disclosed. In addition, the group had also talked about kidnapping Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, he of the blackface college pictures, as well as one of the suspects—a decorated Marine—allegedly asked his co-conspirators if they wanted to kill a Maine police officer for one of his friends.

 Meantime, the defense lawyers claimed that the government has only produced small samples of conversations in the case, and said that the government has no evidence that the accused had any real plan to kidnap Whitmer.

The five men were setup in a scheme to purchase explosives and tactical gear from someone, however when they arrived FBI agents were there instead.

One of the defense attorneys, Gary Springstead, who is representing Garbin said that there is still much more evidence to be presented.

“I haven’t had a full opportunity to review all the evidence,” Springstead said. “I think my co-counsel made good pints that (the evidence presented today) is a snapshot. A lot of quick points in a big time frame. You don’t know what else is happening outside of that time frame.”

“So I’m sure in our investigation (which) we’re going to conduct ourselves, and not rely solely on the federal government to tell us what happened, we’ll try to round out that information and figure out what happened in the times that weren’t captured on tape that weren’t captured in text to put it into fuller context so we can better assess where we stand in the case.”

Springstead also spoke to using an informant in this case is troublesome, especially given the role they played.

“It’s become an issue in certain cases where the informant pushes some of the information, and the court and the government and the defense attorneys have to be leery of that,” he told reporters.

“Because their job is not to assess what the government informant wants them to do, it’s to assess the accused’s intent and what they actually planned on doing.”

Ironically, the Washington Examiner reported that Daniel Harris, 23, one of the so-called “white supremacists” who was involved with the plot, had attended a Black Lives Matter rally in June, telling the Oakland County Times that he was upset about the death of George Floyd and police violence, as reported in the Washington Post.  

Harris told the Oakland County Times: “We went to the BLM protest yesterday in Lake Orion to show our support that everyone’s voice should be heard, no matter the color on your skin. Protesting is important to me because it gives us all a voice to be heard.”

Sounds like a white supremacist to us.

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