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Man stopped in August outside Michigan governor’s summer mansion worked for anti-Democrat PAC

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A man dressed in black who works for a group specializing in opposition research about Democrats was stopped while climbing a bluff near Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s summer residence in August, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press.

The man, whose name was redacted in the document, said he worked as a “political tracker” for America Rising, a political action committee that works in support of Republicans.

He said he was “climbing the hill to get a ‘view up here’ when he was stopped Aug. 26. When members of the Executive Protection Section advised there was no view to see where he was at, (the man) stated, ‘I guess I’m leaving now,’” state police said.

The mansion on Mackinac Island is a summer residence for any Michigan governor in office. It’s located “on a bluff overlooking the Straits of Mackinac,” according to the island’s tourism office.

Police followed up with an interview at the man’s apartment on Sept. 12.

The man said he had no plan to harm Whitmer and simply wanted to take photos of “political figures” who might be visiting with her outdoors, according to the report.

The man said he didn’t know he couldn’t be there “because there were no signs posted,” Det. Sgt. Aaron Sitko wrote.

The governor’s team would not confirm whether she was at the Mackinac Island residence on Aug. 26, citing security concerns.

State police spokeswoman Lori Dougovito said Tuesday that the investigation is closed.

Separately, the state police director, Col. James Grady II, said: “We are monitoring this situation to understand the scope of the individual’s intentions and connections to any known previous or ongoing threats against all government officials.”

Whitmer was the target of a kidnapping scheme in 2020. Nine people were convicted at trial or pleaded guilty. Five were acquitted.

Her chief of staff said the August incident on Mackinac Island was considered “extremely serious,” in light of the previous criminal cases.

“The governor deserves the right to safety and privacy,” JoAnne Huls said.

America Rising did not respond to questions from the AP.

State police learned that the man had been confronted at political events in the past.

In July, in Brighton, Michigan, the man was questioned after “posing as media and attempting to gain entry into the building” at an event featuring Democratic U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, police said.

The man said he “wanted to call her out,” police said.

Joey Cappelletti And Ed White, The Associated Press

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