Whitmer Kidnapping Plot: Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Jr. guilty on all charges
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (FOX 2) - The two men on trial for conspiring to kidnap the Michigan governor have been found guilty, a jury ruled Tuesday.
A jury convicted Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. of counts of conspiring to kidnap and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. Croft was also found guilty of possession of an unregistered destructive device.
The verdict follows the second trial of the two men.
Andrew Birge, the lead prosecutor said "the verdict confirms this plot was very serious and dangerous" and was a true threat to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her family.
"The defendants in this case believe their anti-government views justify violence," said David Porter, FBI assistant special agent from Detroit. " Today's verdict is a clear example they were wrong in their assessment."
Fox's attorney Christopher Gibbeons said he would be pursuing "all avenues of relief" for his client, which includes filing with the U.S. Appellate court after the judge issues a judgement, which typically follows a sentencing.
"My client is disappointed by the verdict. It's been a good fight, we've made it twice in a row, we were hoping for a different outcome today," he said.
Both Gibbeons and Croft's attorney Joshua Blanchard said their may be future legal moves in relation to the jury and a specific outstanding juror issue.
Both men were previously tried on conspiracy to kidnap charges earlier this year, but a jury failed to reach a verdict. Two other men charged with the same crimes were acquitted.
Croft and Fox's conviction for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction after they had planned to bomb to blow up a bridge that would stymie police while they kidnaped Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Whitmer: Violence has no part in politics
The governor released a statement after the verdict, thanking the prosecutors and police for their work. She also thanked her friends and family.
"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," she said in a statement. "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.
"I ran for office because I love my fellow Michiganders and my home state with all my heart. I always will. I cannot—I will not—let extremists get in the way of the work we do. They will never break my unwavering faith in the goodness and decency of our people.
"I will stay focused on getting things done for the people of Michigan."
Closing arguments were made on Monday by the prosecution and defense following a week-long trial in federal court in Grand Rapids. U.S. Attorneys argued in front of a jury the men had crafted a plan to kidnap the governor in 2020 in hopes of igniting a national rebellion.
Both men were part of a larger cohort of individuals who were upset with Whitmer's pandemic policies and had sought to exact revenge during a pivotal election year.
The previous jury trial acquitted Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris of conspiracy charges, but remained deadlocked on Fox and Croft. The U.S. had secured guilty pleas from two other men before the trial.
Defense attorneys previously argued the government had entrapped the men and their speech was protected. Attorneys for Fox and Croft cited those same issues at the second trial.
"They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn't entrapment - and there's huge evidence of entrapment - they tried to give these guys five thousand dollars each," Croft's attorney, Joshua Blanchard said. "They put a ton of resources into making it look like our guys wanted to commit a crime."
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"We can clearly indicate to the jury some very simple ways to take apart a very complex plot hatched by the FBI to entrap my clients," Fox's attorney, Christopher Gibbeons said.
A defense attorney who spoke with FOX 2 said he had concerns about the defense. After the jury was seated in only one day and the defense was subjected to time limits, Attorney Mike Rataj theorized it may end in a hung jury.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.