(AmericanProsperity.com) – In October of 2020, the FBI stopped what they believed was a plot to kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. As the case dragged on, the defending legal team claimed the FBI persuaded the group to carry out the crime. The allegations led to a judge shifting focus during the defendants’ trial.
A Rare Occurrence
On March 9, defense lawyers addressed the jury during the trial’s opening statements, carefully mentioning how FBI agents may have incited the group of four defendants to carry out a crime they otherwise wouldn’t have committed. Their allegations constitute entrapment from the FBI. Robert Jonker, the US District Court Judge presiding over the case, allowed the lawyers to speak directly to the jury regarding their claims of entrapment later in the trial, an unusual occurrence.
Jonathan Roth, Assistant US Attorney, claims the defendants — Barry Croft Jr., Brandon Caserta, Adam Fox, and Daniel Harris — were plotting to kidnap Whitmer before law enforcement got involved. Roth mentioned the quartet of defendants were ready and willing to carry out their crime, possibly even preparing to do so before authorities arrested them in 2020.
Croft’s attorney, Joshua Blanchard, asserted the four men were stoned out of their minds and just spitballing crazy cannabis-driven fantasies, adding they mentioned tying the governor to a kite as a means of transportation. Croft then accused the FBI of knowing the four were just saying crazy stuff as a result of being high and not actually planning to kidnap Whitmer.
Newsmax noted that entrapment is a rare claim from defense attorneys, noting it’s high risk due to the admission of a crime being committed. However, the lawyers are using it to seek an acquittal of their clients, claiming federal agents encouraged and manipulated them.
Not Backing Down
US Attorney Roth urged the jury and judge to listen to audio, watch video, and read messages to find proof the defendants were willing to commit this crime without any action from agents. Roth asserted the group of men were upset about the harsh COVID-19 restrictions Whitmer placed her state under during the early part of the pandemic, adding they recruited militia members and planned to break into the governor’s home, restrain her, and kidnap her.
Prosecutors displayed a video of Fox cursing at the government, laughing, and waving two AR-15 style rifles from Facebook. In the video, Fox can be heard saying they have the numbers, arms, and ammunition to take back America, with no mention of Governor Whitmer. A separate recording details how Fox declared he preferred not to resort to violence, adding the only way they could defend themselves was to be eviler than the government.
Julia Kelly, defense attorney for Harris, asserted the group was enticed by a man they called Big Dan, who was an FBI informant. Kelly mentioned how Dan once told the FBI it was wasting its time, claiming the group was more concerned about the world ending. Michael Hills, Caserta’s defense, mentioned that attack training in Wisconsin and Michigan were sponsored by the FBI.
Roth claims Croft and Fox masterminded the operation and wanted to turn Michigan into a warzone. Authorities accuse the men of making critical moves to carry out their plan, which allegedly involved blowing up a bridge. The FBI claims to have prevented a tragedy after stopping the group from acquiring a bomb, according to Roth.
Jurors will hear from two insiders who have pleaded guilty to conspiracy, Kaleb Franks and Ty Garbin. Each will testify on behalf of the government.
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