|Brandon Michael-Ray Caserta is a white man from Michigan, United States. A self-proclaimed anarchist, he was accused of participating in the thwarted plot to kidnap 49th Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer while the world was battling the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.|
After the thwarted plot was publicly revealed, people can no longer access Caserta’s social media accounts, where he frequently criticized Donald Trump. Whitmer and Trump were frequent critics of one another.
While sitting in front of an anarchist flag, Caserta excoriated Trump in a video posted on social media. In another social media video, Caserta said, “The Declaration of Independence was an anarchist document. It was a document that said, ‘You don’t own me.'”
Caserta and more than 10 other men allegedly spent months to plot the kidnapping of Whitmer. Here are 13 more things about him:
- He lived in an apartment in Canton Township, Wayne County, Michigan. Aside from Canton Township, he has also lived in other areas of Michigan including Ann Arbor, Woodhaven, Romulus and Southgate. He stayed in transitional housing for recovering addicts in Ann Arbor.
- He previously worked as a bicycle mechanic and a Domino’s Pizza manager.
- In 2018, he took to Instagram to praise reactionary Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson, an icon among young political right-wingers.
- On TikTok, which became available worldwide on August 2, 2018, he posted several videos in which he discussed fighting oppression. In one of the videos, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, which is associated to the Boogaloo movement, a loosely organized far-right, anti-government and extremist political movement in the U.S.
- In June 2019, his landlord in Canton Township filed a complaint against him for nonpayment of rent.
- On June 28, 2020, he allegedly was with his co-conspirators in Munith, Michigan where they had a tactical training exercise. When asked to leave if they were not willing to participate in attacks against the government and in kidnapping politicians, he and his co-conspirators stayed except Kaleb Franks.
- From July 10-12, 2020, he and his co-conspirators allegedly were in Cambria, Wisconsin, USA where they had firearms training and other combat drills.
- On Facebook, he posted several memes endorsing the deadly shootings of Kyle Rittenhouse, who fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber on August 25, 2020.
- From September 12-13, 2020, he and his co-conspirators allegedly underwent field training exercises in Luther, Michigan at a property owned by Ty Garbin, also a member of the group. It was approximately an hour and a half from Whitmer’s vacation home in the Western District of Michigan. Adam Fox, one of their leaders, allegedly briefed them on the plan to kidnap Whitmer before the 59th quadrennial U.S. presidential election on November 3, 2020.
- On September 17, 2020, Fox allegedly asked him and their co-conspirators on an encrypted group chat what they thought of a militia group invitation to participate in an armed protest at the Michigan State Capitol. He allegedly replied, “When the time comes, there will be no need to try and strike fear through presence. The fear will be manifested through bullets.”
- On an encrypted group chat, five of his co-conspirators allegedly planned to meet on October 7, 2020 to make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear in preparation for their plan to kidnap Whitmer. He allegedly told the group he could not attend because he would be at work that day. In the evening, he was arrested in his apartment in Canton Township. He was booked into Kent County Jail in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- On October 8, 2020, he appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids with Fox, Franks, Garbin and their co-conspirator Daniel Harris. They all requested the court appoint them attorneys. The federal government charged them and their co-conspirator Barry Croft with conspiracy to kidnap. Their bond hearings were on October 13, 2020.
- He was 34 years old when jurors acquitted him and Harris on April 8, 2022.