by Julie Kelly
In June 2020, as the country attempted to recover from deadly and destructive riots after the death of George Floyd, a man from Wisconsin hosted a national conference of self-styled “militia” members in a suburban Columbus, Ohio hotel. Stephen Robeson, founder of the Wisconsin chapter of the Three Percenters, an alleged militia group on the FBI’s naughty list, pestered his contacts across the country to participate in the gathering.
People who attended the conference, including two men later charged with federal crimes related to a plot to abduct Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation cottage in 2020, observed that the hotel was crawling with federal agents.
One of the feds at the conference was none other than Stephen Robeson himself.
Without Robeson’s deep involvement as an FBI informant, the Whitmer kidnapping caper never would have made national headlines a few weeks before Election Day; in fact, the whole pre-election drama wouldn’t have materialized at all. A longtime FBI asset, Robeson was one of at least 12 confidential human sources embedded in the failed plot, which concluded when several men were arrested attempting to buy explosives from an undercover FBI agent in October 2020.
Defense attorneys are building a convincing case that the FBI entrapped their clients, who stand accused of perpetrating an act of domestic terror; a motion to dismiss the federal kidnapping count was filed on Christmas Day. “[The] evidence here demonstrates egregious overreaching by the government’s agents, and by the informants those agents handled,” five defense attorneys wrote to a Michigan judge on December 25. FBI agents and informants, according to the filing, “concocted, hatched, and pushed this ‘kidnapping plan’ from the beginning, doing so against defendants who explicitly repudiated the plan.”
Stephen Robeson played as instrumental a role as any other FBI informant or agent. In addition to organizing the June militia conference, Robeson arranged a military-style training exercise in Wisconsin in July; another gathering in Ohio a week later; a meeting in Delaware in late summer; and a night time surveillance mission outside Whitmer’s vacation home in September. “He also urged people to plan violent actions against elected officials and to acquire weapons and bomb-making materials,” anonymous attendees told BuzzFeed News reporters in July. “Some of those contacts say he called them nearly every day.”
But Robeson had another secret he withheld from the group of would-be kidnappers whom he coaxed into an FBI trap; Robeson is a convicted felon several times over with “a rap sheet stretching back to the early 1980s that includes fraud, assault, and sex with a minor,” BuzzFeed News confirmed.
And Robeson didn’t suspend his criminal ways while working on behalf of the federal government. At the same time Robeson was producing all the optics later used as evidence against the Whitmer “kidnappers,” he committed at least two other crimes.
In September 2020, Robeson purchased a firearm—a no-no as a convicted felon—just a few weeks after he conducted the reconnaissance trip near Whitmer’s cottage. He sold the gun several months later.
In October 2021, Robeson pleaded guilty to one count of illegally possessing a firearm. But rather than recommend the stiffest sentence for the felony charge, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors offered Robeson a sweetheart deal with only two years supervised release and a $100 fine. He will be officially sentenced in February.
And Robeson’s legal woes are mounting. He and his wife were charged this month with fraud for convincing a Wisconsin couple to purchase and donate a vehicle to a non-existent charity Robeson claimed to operate. The couple bought a used Chevy Tahoe for $3,500 and signed over the title to Robeson on September 3, 2020, the same month he illegally purchased the firearm and was working undercover for the FBI.
In the criminal complaint filed on December 20, 2021 against Robeson and his wife, the couple who bought the vehicle said Robeson became “verbally aggressive” when they confronted him about the legitimacy of the nonprofit. “They started to realize the potential that Robeson’s non-profit was not real, as he talked about things such as performing raids with law enforcement and being a part of the ‘three percenters,’” a local prosecutor wrote. Robeson faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
It’s unclear how much Robeson was paid for his stint in the Whitmer kidnapping ruse. According to court testimony, the top informant known as “Dan” received more than $50,000 in compensation—including cash, a new car, and reimbursement for taking a loss after selling his home—for six months’ work on the Whitmer case. It’s also unclear if Robeson drove the unlawfully obtained vehicle while working as an FBI informant, particularly whether he used the truck to transport the suspects to any of his planned events.
Robeson isn’t the only government asset tied to the Whitmer case accused of criminal misconduct. Richard Trask, the FBI special agent who signed the criminal complaint against the six federal defendants, was arrested over the summer and charged with domestic battery for assaulting his wife in a drunken rage following a swingers party at a hotel near their Kalamazoo home. Trask was fired by the FBI and recently pleaded no contest to the charge. (Local reporters also unearthed Trask’s social media account that contained vile remarks about Donald Trump.)
Neither Trask, nor the FBI’s other top agents who handled the numerous informants in the Whitmer case, will testify for the government during the trial scheduled to begin March 8.
So, to summarize: A convicted felon with a lengthy rap sheet marketed himself as a leader of one of the FBI’s most wanted “militia” groups to lure people angry about lockdown policies into an FBI trap that acted as another example of FBI election interference while at the same time committing other crimes. Robeson wasn’t an informant—he was an agitator and an instigator.
And he got paid an unknown amount by U.S. taxpayers.
Unfortunately for the American people, lowlifes like Stephen Robeson and Richard Trask represent the current state of the Federal Bureau of Investigation—a morally bankrupt, politically weaponized agency doing the dirty work of the Democratic Party. It’s only a matter of time before we learn how many Stephen Robesons and Richard Trasks were involved in the events of January 6.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of ‘Happy Hour podcast with Julie and Liz.’ She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer and photo “FBI headquarters sign” by J CC BY 2.0.