The final two federal defendants in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) were found guilty Tuesday, following an April mistrial due to a deadlocked jury.
Adam Fox and Barry Croft were convicted by a federal jury in Michigan on all counts against them, resolving the months-long open question of whether prosecutors would notch any trial wins in the case.
Two others in the alleged plot, Ty Garbin and Kaleb James Franks, had earlier pleaded guilty in the case, and Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were found not guilty in April.
The second jury to try Fox and Croft deliberated for around eight hours over two days before reaching a verdict, the Detroit Free Press reported. The guilty counts included kidnapping conspiracy and conspiracy to possess weapons of mass destruction — the men plotted to blow up a bridge to stymie the police response to the planned kidnapping — and an additional weapons charge, possession of an unregistered destructive device, against Croft.
Law enforcement informants infiltrated and recorded the plot, leading defense attorneys to argue the case amounted to entrapment by the FBI.
“In America, the FBI is not supposed to create domestic terrorists so that the FBI can arrest them,” Fox attorney’s Christopher Gibbons told the jury, The Associated Pres reported. “The FBI isn’t supposed to create a conspiracy so the FBI can stand up and claim a disruption.”
But prosecutors sought to show the men actively took steps in their conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer, including casing her vacation home and practicing entry drills, and argued the plot was part of a larger effort to foment an anti-government revolt.
“Look at how close they were, yards away from her house,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler during closing arguments, ClickOnDetroit reported. “They didn’t need a helicopter. They didn’t need a boat, even. They needed a pickup truck, duct tape, and rope. They had everything they needed.”
In a statement Tuesday, Whitmer said the kidnapping conspiracy was part of a larger trend of radicalization around the country.
“Today’s verdicts prove that violence and threats have no place in our politics and those who seek to divide us will be held accountable. They will not succeed,” the governor said.
“But we must also take a hard look at the status of our politics. Plots against public officials and threats to the FBI are a disturbing extension of radicalized domestic terrorism that festers in our nation, threatening the very foundation of our republic.”