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Michigan State Rep. Rachelle Smit speaking with attendees at Revolution 2023 hosted by Young Americans for Liberty at Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

A Republican state lawmaker on Friday honored a group of men who were recently acquitted of charges in connection with their roles in a failed plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. 

Republican state Rep. Rachelle Smit heaped praise on William and Michael Null, who were found not guilty in September of providing material support for terrorist acts as part of the kidnapping plot.

Smit gave the Null brothers a “special tribute” certificate that said both men had “courage, unflagging spirit, and dedication to our state and the founding principles of our beloved nation.” 

Smit also said the kidnapping plot the Null brothers were accused of being part of was a false flag operation, the result of the state and federal governments sending “members of its secret police forces to concoct a plot to ‘kidnap’ Gretchen Whitmer, and to persecute innocent men in this government-orchestrated conspiracy, for the purpose of political theater and political gain.” 

Nine men have been convicted of plotting to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home and blow up a bridge leading to the house in order to slow the law enforcement response. The men involved in the plot were angry at Whitmer’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts at the height of the pandemic. 

The men “intended to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation cottage near Elk Rapids, Michigan, and use the destructive devices to facilitate their plot by harming and hindering the governor’s security detail and any responding law enforcement officers,” according to the Department of Justice, which was involved in thwarting the plot. “They specifically explored placing a bomb under an interstate overpass near a pedestrian boardwalk.”

William Null testified during the trial that he went on a surveillance mission at Whitmer’s vacation home but that he didn’t take the kidnapping plot seriously.

Smit also gave a tribute to the Nulls’ lawyer, Tom Siver, for “Defending innocent men from false and malicious charges arising out of an illegally orchestrated government conspiracy.”

“Thank you to Representative Rachelle Smit for the outstanding honor and supporting our judicial system, justice, and freedom!!” Siver wrote in a Facebook post, which included images of Smit giving the men certificates.

Smit, who was first elected to the Michigan Legislature in 2022, is an election denier who campaigned on the need to “fix the 2020 election.”  

The Detroit News reported on Oct. 27 that Stacey LaRouche, a spokesperson for Whitmer’s office, condemned Smit’s tribute in a statement: “Today, Republican leadership awarded a tribute praising individuals that were charged with plotting to kidnap and kill the governor. This goes beyond the pale. These types of actions normalize and incite violence against our political figures, and only serve to shake our faith in our values and our institutions.”

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