Key FBI Agent Probing MI Guv Kidnapping Plot Allegedly Assaulted Wife After Swingers’ Party

A person cleans up debris from a broken window at a home FBI agents searched in Hartland Township mobile home park late Wednesday night and into Thursday morning in connection of a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gr... A person cleans up debris from a broken window at a home FBI agents searched in Hartland Township mobile home park late Wednesday night and into Thursday morning in connection of a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, on October 8, 2020 in Heartland, Michigan. - Six men have been charged as part of a militia plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was repeatedly attacked by President Donald Trump this year for her tough coronavirus lockdown, according to court records released. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 21, 2021 4:25 p.m.

A federal agent helping to lead the investigation into the men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor allegedly violently assaulted his wife after a dispute over a swingers’ party, law enforcement claimed in a court filing following the agent’s arrest, the Detroit News reported.

Richard Trask was arrested Monday and charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, less than murder. An online court record doesn’t show an attorney for Trask, and the FBI did not respond to TPM’s request for comment. A probable cause hearing in the case is scheduled for Tuesday, Trask’s court record said.

The Detroit News reported on details of the allegations against Trask, which were reportedly outlined in an affidavit from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office: Trask and his wife allegedly attended a swingers’ party at a hotel in Oshtemo Township on Sunday, where they reportedly had several drinks and then got into an argument on the way home. Once home, Trask allegedly got on top of his wife in bed and “then grabbed the side of her head and smashed it several times on the nightstand,” the News quoted the affidavit as saying. 

Trask also allegedly began to choke his wife, who grabbed his testicles, according to the affidavit. Trask allegedly left the couple’s home in his wife’s car and was found in a supermarket parking lot. 

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Trask’s wife was reportedly covered in blood and had a bloody laceration on the right side of her head and bruises on her neck following the incident, according to the affidavit reported by the News.

Trask was arraigned and then released from custody Monday on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.  

Mara Schneider, a spokesperson for the FBI in Detroit, told TPM the bureau was “aware of the recent charges brought by the Kalamazoo County, Michigan Prosecuting Attorney’s Office involving an FBI Special Agent.”

“We are fully cooperating with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on this matter,” Schneider said. “In accordance with FBI policy, the incident is subject to internal review, and we cannot comment further at this time.”

Even before the specifics of the allegations against him were disclosed, Trask’s arrest spelled trouble for the kidnapping case, which is set to go to trial in October.

“It’s the last thing you want for a major case like this,” Andrew Arena, former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit office, told the Detroit News Monday. “Any time you give the defense any ammunition it’s not good.”

Trask’s legal issues weren’t the first to affect participants in the kidnapping investigation: One of the lead prosecutors handling a parallel state case, Gregory Townsend, was reassigned in May as the state’s attorney general audited his work in past cases. 

And Stephen Robeson, an FBI informant considered an important witness in the federal case, was indicted in March on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Robseson was one of several confidential informantsin addition to undercover FBI agents, who were involved in the case as the kidnapping plot came together.

A lengthy report from BuzzFeed News Tuesday found that “some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported,” raising questions — as defense attorneys for several of the accused have done in court — “as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.”

One of the six men charged federally for the kidnapping plot, Ty Garbin, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in January.

This post has been updated.

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