A federal jury found two men guilty of plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI). On Tuesday, the jury charged Adam Fox and Barry Croft; they face a maximum sentence of life in prison for their plot in 2020 to kidnap the Governor. Both men were also convicted of one count of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.
To put Whitmer verdicts in perspective:
First trial lasted 3 weeks. Jury deliberated for 4 1/2 days. That trial had 4 defendants and 2 cooperating witnesses who pleaded guilty.
Second trial lasted 8 days. Only 2 defendants with same 2 cooperating witnesses. Jury out 7 hours.
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) August 23, 2022
Prosecutors claimed that Fox was the ringleader and Croft was part of the plan. Prosecutor Nils Kessler said during closing arguments on Monday:
“There are a lot of things that are complicated today. There’s one thing that’s pretty simple still – kidnapping is wrong. You can’t just strap on an AR-15 and body armor and go snatch the governor. You can’t snatch anybody, and you certainly can’t make bombs that are meant to maim and kill people. And this case is about a plot to abduct Gov. Whitmer. But that wasn’t these defendants ultimate goal.”
“They wanted to set off a second American Civil War and the second American Revolution.”
Fox’s attorney Christopher Gibbs said:
“Adam Fox was not ever predisposed to the crime of kidnapping Gov. Whitmer. He talked a big game but talk is just talk. Adam Fox took no affirmative steps to achieve the ends as Special Agent Chambers and Big Dan pushed so hard to achieve.”
Croft’s attorney Joshua Blanchard said in court:
“Now as we sat here the last couple of weeks together in the trial, the government has shown us time and time again that they don’t care that Barry Croft didn’t actually make an agreement to kidnap the governor. They think it’s enough that some of the things that Barry says scares them … They’d like to lock him up in a cage, not because he committed this crime, but because they’re afraid of the things that have come out of his mouth.”
Despite being subpoenaed, the two other men that were acquitted during the first trial – Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris – did not testify in the defense case. Two co-defendants who pleaded guilty before the first trial – Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks – testified in both trials.
The assistant special agent in charge with the FBI Detroit Field Office, David Porter, said:
“Here in America, if you disagree with your government, you have options. You can criticize your government, you can protest, you can vote your elected officials out of office … However, what you cannot do is plan or commit acts of violence. Violence is never the answer.”
Whitmer responded to the charges:
“Today’s verdicts prove that violence and threats have no place in our politics and those who seek to divide us will be held accountable. They will not succeed … But we must also take a hard look at the status of our politics … Plots against public officials and threats to the FBI are a disturbing extension of radicalized domestic terrorism that festers in our nation, threatening the very foundation of our republic.”