State Watch

Jury begins deliberations in Whitmer kidnapping plot trial

Michigan Office of the Governor via AP

A jury began deliberations on Monday in the case involving four men who are accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

The trial, which began on March 9, was put in the hands of the jury after the prosecution and defense delivered closing arguments on Friday.

Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft Jr. and Daniel Harris stand accused of kidnapping conspiracy, and Fox, Craft and Harris are also facing the charge of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

All four men could face life in prison if convicted.

During closing arguments, a prosecutor said the men were “paranoid” and determined to give rise to a civil war by taking Whitmer and holding her responsible for the COVID-19 restrictions put in place during the pandemic, according to Reuters. They were specifically concerned with the curbs on social and business activities.

“In America, there’s a lot of things you can do. You can criticize the government publicly, absolutely,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “If you don’t like the government’s policies, you can protest them. If you don’t like elected leaders, you can vote them out at the ballot box. What you can’t do is kidnap them, kill them, or blow them up.”

Attorneys for the defense, however, have said the men did not have firm plans to kidnap Whitmer and were pressured into talking about their ideas with FBI informants.

“Somebody rattles the keys, somebody beats the drum and gets ’em all worked up,” Christopher Gibbons, an attorney representing Fox, said on Friday. “That’s unacceptable in America. That’s not how it works. You don’t make terrorists so we can arrest them.”

A total of six men were arrested in connection to the plot to kidnap Whitmer. Two of them, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, previously pleaded guilty. Franks admitted to kidnapping conspiracy, and Garbin signed a plea deal that made him confess to helping create a plan to kidnap Whitmer and blow up a bridge to make it difficult for law enforcement to stop them.

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus restrictions Gretchen Whitmer Gretchen Whitmer Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot Michigan Ty Garbin Whitmer kidnapping plot

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