Jury acquits two in Michigan gov. kidnap plot; deadlocks on two others

cigaretteman

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May 29, 2001
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A federal jury acquitted two men of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and deadlocked on the case against two others, apparently agreeing to some degree with defense claims that FBI agents entrapped the men in a violent plot shortly before the 2020 election.

The trial in Grand Rapids, Mich. has been closely watched as a test of the U.S. government’s ramped-up efforts to combat domestic terrorism, and the verdict is a partial defeat for the Justice Department. The men’s arrest in October 2020 raised alarms about the possibility of politically-motivated violence as the nation was increasingly divided over a bitterly contested presidential race.
The jury, which began deliberating Monday, told the judge in a note Friday that they had reached a verdict on some of the charges, and could not agree on others. The judge instructed them to deliver the partial verdict, which acquitted Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta while deadlocking on the charges against Adam Fox and Barry Croft, Jr.



Three of the men are from Michigan; Croft is from Delaware. Government witnesses testified that Fox was the de facto leader of the group.
Two of the men initially arrested as part of the Michigan group, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, pleaded guilty months ago and testified against the other four at trial, saying they had agreed to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, from her lakeside home. The men allegedly discussed taking the governor to the middle of the lake on a boat, or holding a kind of mock tribunal for her. Testimony at their trial showed the men were particularly angry about state and federal government pandemic restrictions, and the possibility of vaccine mandates.
Justice Dept. expands Jan. 6 probe to include financing, planning of rallies
The government’s case was build largely on secret recordings of the men’s conversations — recordings made by informants and undercover agents whose roles became a central issue at the trial.



In closing arguments, prosecutors said the defendants’ own words showed they were rage-filled extremists who hoped to spark a kind of civil war that would keep Biden from becoming president.
Months after their high-profile arrests, on Jan. 6, 2021, a mob of people who believed President Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen stormed the U.S. Capitol seeking to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president, further heightening concerns about far-right extremist groups and self-styled militias.
“If you don’t like your elected representatives, you can vote them out at the ballot box. That’s what makes this country great,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler told the jury on Friday. “What we can’t do is kidnap them, kill them or blow them up. That’s also what makes America great.”







Kessler said the scheming stretched back to a national meeting of self-styled militia groups in Ohio in the summer of 2020, then expanded to include other “training” meetings, and a trip at night to look at the governor’s home and inspect a nearby bridge, which they talked about blowing up to hamper any law enforcement response.
The men also practiced at what they called a “shoot house” to simulate entering Whitmer’s home with guns, according to trial evidence.
Defense lawyers said the government’s case was built on marijuana smoke and mirrors, and that undercover agents were responsible for the “radicalization” of men with no history of violence. The agents, the defense team argued, tried to talk the men into a fantastic plot that never materialized.
Accused leader of Whitmer plot was struggling financially, living in storage space
“This case is steeped in marijuana smoke,” said Fox’s lawyer, Christopher Gibbons, noting that testimony showed his client repeatedly smoked pot before discussions about the alleged plot. “These agents took advantage of Adam’s substance abuse issues.”



Gibbons said Fox was engaged in live action role playing, or LARPing, not any real world conspiracy. “The plan was utter nonsense... It wasn’t real to Adam Fox," said Gibbons. His client, he added, was "usually impaired. He’s just playing a game.”
The defense lawyer blamed Dan Chappel, a key informant in the case whose tip to the FBI started the investigation. Chappel, an Army veteran, joined a self-styled militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen, but became alarmed when he heard some participants talk about attacking police.
Prosecutors countered that Chappel risked his own safety to tell authorities about the brewing danger posed by the other men. “Thank God for Dan Chappel,” Kessler told the jury.

Croft’s lawyer, Joshua Blanchard, said the recordings and texts showed “crazy" and violent talk, but it wasn’t a real plan.
“There’s no doubt Barry said some things that were offensive, for sure, but the thing I find far more offensive is the way the FBI and the government behaved,” said Blanchard. “That’s not what I think of when I think of what it means to protect and serve, what it means to have integrity. This investigation was an embarrassment.”


 

KFSuperStar

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Jul 2, 2009
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Great so you can plot to kidnap the governor of a state and get off scott free.

Jury failed the country here. Whitmer better beef up her security in case one of the acquitted decides to take a second shot at it.
I’m guessing you haven’t followed closely minus reading the headlines a couple years ago.

Lead FBI investigator was fired after creating a fake Twitter account releasing FBI info prior to it becoming public knowledge.

His partner was fired from the FBI after ruthlessly beating his wife after a swinger party.

The defendants are homeless drug addicts. With enough time you could of talked them into a kidnapping on Mars. About half the group were actually working for the FBI. The other half are idiots.


 

lucas80

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Unbelievable. This is one of the reasons I have doubts that Trump will ever be convicted of anything. You just need an aggrieved juror/s willing to suspend all disbelief, or one who silently agrees with the defendants.
 

NCHawk5

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They conspired together, they trained together, they assembled arms and equipment together, some of them broke and testified against the others.
That's a failed jury right there.
Lol trump probably paid them off as well.
 

seminole97

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Jun 14, 2005
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I’m guessing you haven’t followed closely minus reading the headlines a couple years ago.
...
The defendants are homeless drug addicts. With enough time you could of talked them into a kidnapping on Mars. About half the group were actually working for the FBI. The other half are idiots.



Not surprised they've pivoted.
No longer looking for mentally deficient muslims to lead into headline generating plots.
That's so yesterday.

In 2011, Mother Jones published an outstanding, lengthy investigation by reporter Trevor Aaronson, entitled “The Informations,” which asked: “The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?” Aaronson covered numerous similar cases for The Intercept where the FBI designed, directed and even funded the terror plots and other criminal rings they then boasted of disrupting. A widely praised TEDTalk by Aaronson, which, in the words of organizers, “reveals a disturbing FBI practice that breeds terrorist plots by exploiting Muslim-Americans with mental health problems,” featured this central claim: “There's an organization responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS combined: The FBI.”
 

swagsurfer02

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Dec 8, 2010
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Great so you can plot to kidnap the governor of a state and get off scott free.

Jury failed the country here. Whitmer better beef up her security in case one of the acquitted decides to take a second shot at it.

Did these guys plot to kidnap the Gov or did the FBI under covers come up with the plan and try to convince some guys to help?
 
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KFSuperStar

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Jul 2, 2009
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Not surprised they've pivoted.
No longer looking for mentally deficient muslims to lead into headline generating plots.
That's so yesterday.

In 2011, Mother Jones published an outstanding, lengthy investigation by reporter Trevor Aaronson, entitled “The Informations,” which asked: “The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?” Aaronson covered numerous similar cases for The Intercept where the FBI designed, directed and even funded the terror plots and other criminal rings they then boasted of disrupting. A widely praised TEDTalk by Aaronson, which, in the words of organizers, “reveals a disturbing FBI practice that breeds terrorist plots by exploiting Muslim-Americans with mental health problems,” featured this central claim: “There's an organization responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS combined: The FBI.”
The “ringleader” in the whitmer case lived in the basement of a vacuum repair shop.
 

seminole97

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Jun 14, 2005
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The “ringleader” in the whitmer case lived in the basement of a vacuum repair shop.
We live in a simulation, with lazy writers.

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BubsFinn

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Those idiots were perfectly content sitting in a bar, boasting about things they'll never do. Until the FBI showed up and talked them into (one might say coerced) doing more.
 
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