Man acquitted in Whitmer kidnapping runs as a Republican for sheriff

Eric Molitor (Screenshot via Michigan Advance)

By Michigan Advance

May 13, 2024

BY JON KING, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—Less than nine months ago, Eric Molitor was facing the possibility of a lengthy prison term. Now he’s hoping to become Wexford County’s top law enforcement officer.

On Thursday, the 40-year-old Cadillac man filed papers to run against Wexford County Sheriff Trent Taylor in the Republican primary in August.

Molitor, along with twin brothers William and Michael Null, were acquitted in September 2023 of providing support for a terrorist act and a weapon charge related to the plot to kidnap and execute Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Specifically, they were accused of supporting leaders of the plan by participating in military-style drills and traveling to see Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan.

Molitor and the Null brothers were the last of 14 men to face charges in state or federal court for participation in the plot. In all, nine were convicted and five were acquitted, including Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta.

Molitor, in a post on Facebook, said he didn’t want all the attention on his candidacy to be about what he called “the kidnap hoax,” but said he understood why it was.

“[T]he integrity I showed while battling the state and federal governments to NOT BACK DOWN is something I’ll bring with me to the sheriff’s office. I will fight for your liberties and rights just like I’d fight for my own. If something is unconstitutional then it is our DUTY to disregard it,” he said.

Along those lines. Molitor pledged not to enforce Michigan’s “red flag” laws, officially known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Act.

“I’m done watching the corruption. Done watching my fellow Americans be abused by a cold and heartless system. I WILL be the one to deny unconstitutional orders to protect your sovereignty and liberties,” he posted.

The ERPO act, signed into law by Whitmer in May 2023, allows people to be temporarily prohibited from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. It is done upon request of a court order from family members, law enforcement and other individuals.

Whitmer, a Democrat, at the time called the measure “common sense action to reduce gun violence and keep families and communities safe.” However, Molitor told the Detroit News that the law was “… going behind someone’s back to take their possessions.”

Sheriff Taylor, meanwhile, said that the ERPO legislation was now the law of the land and refusing a judge’s order could land a law enforcement officer behind bars for contempt of court. He also posted to his campaign’s Facebook page that he took his oath of office seriously.

“I 100% support the Constitution and all its Amendments,” he said. “Law enforcement was founded on the Constitution of the United States over 200 years ago and the Wexford County Sheriff’s Office will continue to abide by the laws of the land.”

Molitor also indicated that he was running on more than just the ERPO issue.

“I will come down hard on this drug epidemic in our county, enough of our loved ones have died because of this crap. And finally I’ll make our deputies [sic] jobs safer by not putting them in harms [sic] way unnecessarily, if you’re not ticketing for nit-picking then you’ll have fewer angry citizens and less negative interactions with the public,” posted Molitor.

READ MORE: Jury clears 3 men in last trial tied to plot to kidnap Whitmer

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license.

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