Two men were found guilty Tuesday of conspiring to trigger the bomb. “a second American revolution”Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, was kidnapped. According to Reuters.
The two men, Adam Fox, 39, and Barry Croft Jr., 46, who the government says are members of the Three Percenters militia group, according to the outlet.
Fox and Croft Jr. were two of 13 men arrested and charged in October 2020 with state and federal crimes in relation to the alleged kidnapping scheme. Officials stated that seven of them are facing state court charges.
The conviction of Fox and Croft comes after the U.S. government prosecuted the case for the second time. A federal judge in Grand Rapids (Michigan) declared a mistrial four months earlier. The initial trial resulted in two more defendants being found not guilty. According to Detroit News.
Prosecutors say that Fox and Croft allegedly were part of a plan to force an end to the mandates Whitmer, a Democrat, had enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Detroit News: The prosecution claimed that Fox had compiled a list containing all the tools needed by the conspirators during the planning of the kidnapping. Prosecutors said this included handcuffs and a hood to cover Whitmer’s head, and a makeshift house was built to simulate breaking into the governor’s vacation home and abducting her, according to the outlet.
According to the outlet the governor was kidnapped and put in prison by her captors. “on trial,” the men hoped to push the country into open conflict as a contentious presidential election approached in November 2020.
“They wanted to set off a second American Civil War and a second American Revolution,”During closing arguments Monday, Nils Kessler, Assistant U.S. attorney, told jurors.
“They didn’t want to just kidnap her,”Kessler spoke in reference to the governor. “They wanted to execute her.”
The closing arguments of Croft and Fox were delivered by the attorneys for Croft, Fox and others. They stated that the government’s case involved entrapment and that their clients had not committed any crimes.
“The FBI should not exist to make people look like terrorists when they aren’t,”Joshua Blanchard is an attorney for Croft and said that jurors should be informed.
Fox and Croft were also found guilty of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction: an explosive device that prosecutors say was intended to hinder law enforcement’s response to the planned kidnapping, according to Reuters.
According to Detroit News, the 12-member jury deliberated for approximately eight hours over two consecutive days. The prosecution used the testimony of both FBI informants as well as key witnesses who pleaded guilty for kidnapping conspiracy charges in this retrial.
Croft and Fox both face the possibility of spending their entire lives in prison. An official date for sentencing has not yet been announced.
Whitmer, following the verdicts, spoke out about the dangers associated with “radicalized domestic terrorism.”
“I cannot – I will not – let extremists get in the way of the work we do,”She stated this in a statement by her office. “They will never break my unwavering faith in the goodness and decency of our people.”
Andrew Birge, Assistant U.S. attorney, stated in a Tuesday statement that Whitmer’s threat also put others at risk. He added that no elected official should ever be targeted in this way.
“Today’s verdict confirms this plot was very real and very dangerous,”Birge stated. “The Justice Department will not tolerate violent extremist plots of this nature seeking to undermine our democracy.”