A Michigan jury on Tuesday found two men guilty of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 after another jury acquitted two others and failed to reach a verdict in this case.
Deliberations just began on Monday, and the jury wasted little time in returning the guilty verdicts for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. of conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer. Deliberations lasted for roughly eight hours. They now face sentences of up to life in prison.
Both were also found guilty of attempting to acquire a weapon of mass destruction. A jury in April was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in their first trial.
Defense attorneys portrayed the pair as braggarts who talked a big game but were not capable of pulling off the abduction of a public official. They painted a picture of entrapment and said that the FBI’s agents and informants fed their delusions and outrage.
BREAKING NEWS: Jury announces verdict for 2 men accused of conspiring to kidnap Gov. Whitmerhttps://t.co/hJIs8LRO9U
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Prosecutors, however, gave a strikingly different portrayal of Fox and Croft. In the nine-day trial, the government insisted that the jury pay close attention to what the two were saying in the months before undercover agents were put inside the group in 2020.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said in closing arguments that the two were outside the governor’s home during the night with night-vision goggles and firearms. Kessler said “they made a real bomb.”
Prosecutors said the defendants planned to blow up a bridge to distract law enforcement away from Whitmer’s vacation home.
The verdict came down on Whitmer’s 51st birthday Tuesday, and she said that the jury’s decision proved that “violence and threats have no place in our politics.”
She further warned the nation needs to take a strong look at “the status of our politics.”
The 2020 incident came at a volatile time for the U.S. as violent riots swept the country over George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. It was also in the home stretch of the presidential election, and COVID-19 lockdowns rocked the country.