State Watch

Whitmer kidnap plotter gets 16 year sentence

Adam Fox
FILE – In this courtroom drawing, from left, Brandon Caserta with his attorney Michael Darragh Hills, defendants Adam Fox, center, and Ty Garbin appear during a hearing in federal court in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Oct. 16, 2020. Federal prosecutors told a judge Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, that a life prison sentence would be justified for Fox, the leader of a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying his goal to turn the country upside down in 2020 was a forerunner of rampant anti-government extremism. (Jerry Lemenu via AP, File)

The right-wing extremist who federal authorities say led the failed plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has been sentenced to 16 years in prison — dodging what could have been a life sentence that federal authorities had sought in the rare domestic terrorism case.

Adam Fox, 39, was convicted in August on two conspiracy charges relating to the kidnapping scheme and another to obtain and use a weapon of mass destruction related to a side plot to blow up a bridge in order to distract authorities.

Federal prosecutors identified Fox as the “driving force” behind the plan to kidnap Whitmer and start a civil war in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

Prosecutors have identified Fox as the ringleader of a group of six men who plotted to kidnap the governor as retaliation against mask mandates, business closures and other precautionary measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer had instituted several COVID-19-related restrictions as the virus spread through the country. The disease killed hundreds of thousands of people in 2020.

According to federal authorities, a militia member contacted the police about threats that were growing, and the FBI began monitoring the extremist movement, known as the Wolverine Watchmen.

Whitmer, who was not harmed, has said she believes she would have been killed if the extremists’ plan had not been thwarted.

“It was an assassination plot, but no one talks about it that way,” Whitmer said in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this year. “Even the way people talk about it has muted the seriousness of it.”

Federal prosecutors maintained in court that Fox was the mastermind ultimately behind the plan to kidnap the governor.

“This was no ‘run of the mill’ kidnapping plot,” U.S. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nils Kessler wrote in a pre-sentencing statement. “He targeted not just any victim, but an official victim; and not just any official, but the head of a state. He was no follower; he was an active recruiter and prime mover.”

Meanwhile, Fox’s attorney Christopher Gibbons argued Fox was just a follower who looked up to FBI informants and undercover agents who had infiltrated the Wolverine Watchmen movement.

The Hill has reached out to Whitmer’s office for comment.

Fox didn’t directly address the court or Whitmer before his sentence was handed down.

“I’m satisfied with what my lawyer said,” he said.

Tags 2020 election democrats Detroit FBI Gretchen Whitmer Gretchen Whitmer Lansing Michigan Washington D.C.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video