Two of the four men were acquitted on Friday of conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, prompted by fury over the harsh COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Democrats at the start of the pandemic.
Jury verdicts against Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were read in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the case presided over by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker. Jurors said they could not agree again on the Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. verdicts. Prosecutors described Fox as a ringleader of an anti-government group.
Fox, Croft and Harris faced additional charges. The two most serious counts, conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to use explosives, both carry a life sentence.
Defense attorneys described their clients as gullible weekend warriors prone to big wild arguments, who were often stoned. They said undercover FBI agents and informants tricked and cajoled the men into agreeing to a plot.
To counter this entrapment allegation, prosecutors presented evidence that the men had discussed Whitmer’s abduction before the FBI sting began. They went well beyond discussions, including exploring Whitmer’s summer home and testing explosives, prosecutors told jurors.
Croft is from Delaware while the others are from Michigan.