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Wisconsin Man Accused Of Aiding Attempt To Kidnap Michigan Gov. Will Not Yet Be Extradicted

Chuck Quirmbach
Brian Higgins listens to Tuesday's extradition hearing while in Columbia County Jail. He will remain there, while his case is appealed.

A Wisconsin man accused of helping a plot this year to kidnap several Michigan officials, including the governor, remains in Wisconsin, despite having lost one attempt to block extradition to Michigan.

Wisconsin Dells resident Brian Higgins is accused of providing material support to a terrorist act. If found guilty, he could go to jail for 20 years.

Higgins allegedly provided night vision goggles and used a vehicle dashboard camera to watch the vacation home of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Prosecutors claim Higgins was helping an anti-government militia group, the Wolverine Watchmen. More than a dozen other men, mostly from Michigan, also face charges.

Last month, Whitmer signed an extradition request to have Higgins sent to her state. But defense attorney Christopher Van Wagner argued in Wisconsin circuit court Tuesday that because Whitmer also was a potential victim, the signing is a conflict of interest.

"She can never divorce herself from the personal, if you will, benefit of having one of the accused brought back to the state," Van Wagner said.

Columbia County Judge Todd Hepler rejected the argument and said Higgins would not be sent to another country.

"Mr. Higgins is not being deported to some Third World kangaroo court. He will enjoy all of the constitutional rights guaranteed to every American citizen, including due process of law," Hepler said.

Despite his statement, Hepler agreed to delay the extradition while Higgins and his lawyer take their case to a Wisconsin appeals court.

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