FBI agent: Suspects in Whitmer kidnapping plot arrested over ‘real concern’ they might obtain explosives
A federal agent testified in court that the four men involved in the attempted kidnapping plot of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) were arrested over a “real concern” they might obtain explosives, The Associated Press reported.
FBI agent Todd Reineck during the first day of the trial on Thursday shared that some social media posts from the suspects were posted prior to any contact from federal agents and informants.
Reineck also said that authorities arrested the four individuals in fall 2020 due to the fear of them obtaining “real live explosives” for their kidnapping plot, according to the AP.
Christopher Gibbons, the attorney for one of the four suspects, questioned Reineck about paying the informants in cash rewards, vetting them for undercover work and the choice of electronic devices they used.
Reineck responded by implying that Gibbons’s client, Adam Fox, also participated in legal protests at the state capital before taking part in the kidnapping plot, the AP reported.
This comes as prosecutors allege that the four men, Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, plotted the kidnapping of Whitmer due to their frustration of statewide COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. They planned to snatch her from her vacation home and blow up a nearby bridge to slow authorities’ response to the incident.
The suspects’ defense attorneys said during opening statements Wednesday that federal agents tricked their clients into participating in a plot to kidnap the governor.
However, assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth said in court that the evidence in the case will prove the suspects’ desire to commit violence regardless of informants being involved, adding that the men were “willing and eager” to commit their kidnapping attempt, the AP noted.
“If the defendant was already willing to commit the crime, that is not entrapment,” Roth said. “These defendants were willing and eager, if not already preparing, to commit this crime long before law enforcement got involved.”