The alleged masterminds of an extremist plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and start a civil war ahead of the 2020 presidential election will be re-tried after a jury failed to reach a verdict in their cases earlier this year.
A federal judge set a trial date in August for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. Thursday after declining their lawyer’s request to clear them of conspiracy and weapons charges.
“We don’t know what the jury was thinking. … There’s enough here to say that a rational jury could still go against Mr. Fox, go against Mr. Croft, even considering the outcome with respect for Mr. [Daniel] Harris and Mr. [Brandon] Caserta,” US District Judge Robert Jonker said, referencing two alleged co-conspirators that were found not guilty.
Fox and Croft were part of a paramilitary militia group called “Wolverine Watchmen” that planned to abduct Whitmer at her vacation home because they were upset over the COVID-19 restrictions and mandates enacted by the 50-year-old Democrat, prosecutors alleged.
The defendants had also purportedly planned to take over the Michigan statehouse by force, which they hoped would spark a second American civil war and prevent a Joe Biden presidency, according to officials.
A deadlocked jury failed to convict or acquit the domestic terrorism suspects in April, after defense lawyers argued that FBI agents had infiltrated the group and entrapped them in the treacherous scheme.
Croft, Fox and undercover agents drove to Whitmer’s house to surveil the property in the dark ahead of the planned abduction, and had used a crudely built “shoot house” to practice the heist, officials alleged.
Two other suspects, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks plead guilty in connection with the plot. Garbin was sentenced to six years in prison, and Franks had yet to learn his fate and was expected to testify at the upcoming retrial.
Eight other suspects were charged in state court.
With AP wires
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