Men accused in Whitmer ‘kidnapping’ plot face closing arguments

Prosecutors say that two men charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer had intentions of hanging her, according to the Associated Press.

The two men, Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. are on trial for the second time after a Grand Rapids jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. The two other suspects were acquitted.

Prosecutors made their closing arguments on Monday, with Assistant US Attorney Nils Kessler saying, “These defendants were outside a woman’s house in the middle of the night with night-vision goggles and guns and a plan to kidnap her. They made a real bomb. That’s far enough, isn’t it?”

The government is seeking charges against those involved in the plot after two suspects were found not guilty on all charges in April.

In December, it was alleged by the defense that the FBI entrapped the men in the plot. “The government picked what it knew would be a sensational charge: conspiracy to kidnap the governor,” the attorneys wrote.

Kessler urged jurors to focus on what the two men had allegedly said prior to the introduction of undercover FBI agents and information inside the group that summer. Kessler was attempting to get the jury to reject the argument that the men were entrapped by the government agency.

“‘Which governor is going to be dragged off and hung for treason first?'” said Kessler, reading out Croft’s words from old messages.

“‘Any governor would do,'” Kessler said. “By the end of June, he was telling people Michigan’s government is a target of opportunity, and God knows the governor needs to be hung. He didn’t just want to kidnap her. He wanted to have his own trial and execute her.”

Kessler said that the goal of the kidnapping was to start something “called the boogaloo, or a second American Revolution.”

Federal agents testified that the men trained in a “shoot house” in Wisconsin and another in Michigan, adding that they visited Elk Rapids to gain information on Whitmer’s house. They also allegedly looked at nearby bridges that could be blown up.

The defense argues that Fox and Croft are “big talkers,” and a “bumbling, foul-mouthed, marijuana-smoking pair exercising free speech and incapable of leading anything as extraordinary as an abduction of a public official. They say FBI agents and informants fed their outrage and pulled them into their web,” AP writes.

The FBI agents involved in the case also regularly got high with Fox. According to testimony, informants smoked weed with Fox while they were plotting, reported Detroit Free Press.

“In America, the FBI is not supposed to create domestic terrorists so that the FBI can arrest them,” said Fox attorney Christopher Gibbons. “The FBI isn’t supposed to create a conspiracy so the FBI can stand up and claim a disruption.”

Gibbons said that Fox and others participated in “fantastical talk” that included dreams of storming Mackinac Island and escaping via helicopter or through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Gibbons said that Fox was “isolated, broke, homeless” and living in the basement of a vacuum store.

“Somebody really cool is showing him attention, who wants to be his friend,” Gibbons said.

Gov. Whitmer commented on the trial by saying she hasn’t been paying attention to it, but said that there is a “dangerous trend” happening. “We cannot let it become normalized and I do hope that anyone that’s out there plotting to hurt their fellow Americans is held accountable.”

Former President Donald Trump has called the plot a “fake deal.”

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