(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Brandon Caserta was found not guilty of conspiring to kidnap Michigan’s governor in April 2022, but Headline USA has learned that law enforcement is still treating him as a domestic terrorist threat.
Caserta was arrested on Aug. 18 in Texas for misdemeanor domestic assault—a charge he vehemently denies.
Caserta told Headline USA that he had been arguing with his ex-girlfriend, Jeinay LeBlanc, who kicked him out of her Bay City, Texas house and took his phone.
Stranded in Texas, Caserta took his laptop to a local Starbucks to communicate with his mother and figure out how he’d be able to make it back to the Midwest.
“The next thing you know, a huge tactical squad rolls up to the Starbucks and starts pointing their pistols and ARs in my face, [telling me], ‘Get the f— out of the car, put your mother——- hands up, mother——!’” Caserta said, estimating that at least 10 heavily armed officers surrounded him, along with a tow truck to impound his vehicle.
Caserta, who is working on a documentary about the Whitmer kidnap case with independent journalist Christina Urso, spent that weekend in jail and was released on Monday, Aug. 21.
Headline USA contacted the Bay City Police Department last week, inquiring why a heavily armed squad was used to arrest Caserta over a misdemeanor. This reporter specifically asked if such tactics were used because the Bay City Police Department viewed Caserta was a domestic terrorist threat.
“Yes, that’s why,” Bay City Police Lt. Irene Kjergaard said in response to that question.
This reporter then asked Kjergaard if they viewed Caserta as a potential terrorist because of the FBI, or if they had made that assessment based on media reports.
“I’m not sure. They don’t add that to the report, so I don’t know how they got that information—if it was from the victim, or how,” Kjergaard said.
The FBI did not respond to an email inquiry about the matter.
Local police have relied on faulty FBI data in the past to target innocent people as potential terrorist threats. Oklahoma native Saadiq Long filed a lawsuit over the matter in January, after Oklahoma City police targeted him on the basis that his name appeared on a bureau watchlist.
“In the span of only two months, Saadiq Long has been repeatedly pulled over, arrested twice, held at gunpoint, and had his car searched by Oklahoma City Police Department officers. It is not because Saadiq is a criminal or suspected of being one,” Long’s lawsuit said.
“The FBI distributes its list, via the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Database, to the Oklahoma City Police Department. That is all that the FBI distributes: a list of names,” Long, who has previously successfully sued the government to have his name removed from no-fly lists, said in his lawsuit.
“The FBI keeps its reasons and evidence about the placement to itself. Because of this, the Department knows that the FBI put Saadiq Long on a watchlist, but the Department has no idea why.”
Long’s lawsuit is still pending. Meanwhile, Caserta said he’s yet to receive a court date to face the misdemeanor assault charge.
The exonerated Whitmer kidnap defendant said he has evidence that will also clear his name in this latest misdemeanor case.
Caserta explained that his accuser, LeBlanc, used pictures of herself with bruises as evidence that he assaulted her. However, LeBlanc had already sent those same pictures to him months ago, he said.
“She stole my phone and used pictures from months ago,” he said, providing Headline USA with some of those messages.
LeBlanc, who is affiliated with the Redacted Caucus of the Libertarian Party, declined to comment on the matter.
Caserta further contrasted how he was treated by law enforcement to former FBI agent Richard Trask, who investigated him in the Whitmer case. Trask nearly killed his wife, but was not arrested at gunpoint.
Trask savagely beat his wife after a July 2021 swingers party, smashing her face in a nightstand and choking her. He was fired from the FBI, but escaped serious criminal penalties—he was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay court costs after pleading no contest in December 2021.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.