Jury deliberations begin in the retrial of two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Photo courtesy of the Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Aug. 22 (UPI) — Jurors have started deliberating the fate of two defendants, charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, after prosecutors claimed the pair “wanted to execute her” and defense lawyers called the trial “kidnapping conspiracy theater.”
Closing arguments in the case of Adam Fox, 39, and Barry Croft, 46, wrapped up before noon Monday in their retrial. Fox and Croft are on trial for a second time after two alleged co-conspirators were acquitted in April and a mistrial was declared when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
Monday’s closing arguments in a Grand Rapids federal courtroom followed seven days of testimony after the FBI alleged the men were members of an anti-government militia in Michigan and had conspired to kidnap Whitmer over COVID-19 restrictions. Fox and Croft could each face life in prison if found guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler told jurors Fox had a list of items needed for the kidnapping, including handcuffs and a hood to cover Whitmer’s head.
“They wanted to set off a second American Civil War and a second American Revolution,” Kessler said. “And they wanted to do it for a long time before they settled on Gov. Whitmer. They didn’t want to just kidnap her. They wanted to execute her,” he said.
“So much for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Fox’s lawyer Christopher Gibbons told jurors. “Send the government and FBI a strong message… Let them know this is not what a fair trial in America looks like. It is time to end this debacle,” he said.
“They want to lock him up in a cage… because they’re afraid of things that came out of his mouth,” Croft’s attorney Joshua Blanchard told the jury. “This isn’t Russia. This isn’t how our country works. You don’t get to lock them away for things they didn’t actually do.”
Defense lawyers spoke about the two years their clients have lost in jail awaiting trial. They also argued the “big talking” group was entrapped by the FBI when they were high on marijuana, as Blanchard told jurors that “the FBI knew this was stoned crazy talk.”
“These defendants were outside a woman’s house in the middle of the night with night-vision goggles and guns and a plan to kidnap her,” Kessler rebutted. “And they made a real bomb. That’s far enough, isn’t it?”
“This plan wasn’t impossible at all,” Kessler said. “Four guys with AR-15s, and magazines and body armor — you think they couldn’t take one person out of her house?”
The jury deliberated for several hours after closing arguments concluded. They will resume deliberations Tuesday.
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