- A jury found two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmore guilty on all counts on Tuesday.
- Gov. Whitmore released a statement that said the conviction proves that "violence has no place in our politics.
- The two men's previous trial ended in a mistrial.
Two men were found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in federal court on Tuesday after their first trial ended in a partial mistrial.
A federal grand jury found Barry Croft and Adam Fox guilty on counts of conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, Detroit News reporter Robert Snell tweeted. Croft and Fox face sentences of up to life in prison.
The jury also found Croft guilty of one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device, Snell said.
In April, a federal jury couldn't agree on verdicts for Croft and Fox, and the case ended in a partial mistrial. The jury did, however, return not guilty verdicts for two other men charged in the case, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta.
Harris was acquitted of knowingly conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction against persons or property, in an alleged plot to slow first responders, as well as possession of an unregistered destructive device and possession of an unregistered semi-automatic assault rifle. Caserta was found not guilty on a conspiracy charge.
According to prosecutors, the men planned to blow up a bridge near Whitmer's home to slow the response of law enforcement.
The jury deliberated for eight hours this time before delivering a guilty verdict for Croft and Fox, according to the Detroit Free Press. Prosecutors alleged that the men were angry over Whitmer's stay-at-home orders and mask mandates imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic and accused Croft and Fox of plotting to buy and create explosives to help them carry out their plot, which resulted in the weapons of mass destruction charge, the Free Press reported.
Gov. Whitmer released a statement on Tuesday after the guilty verdict saying that the guilty verdicts for Croft and Fox "prove that violence and threats have no place in our politics and those who seek to divide us will be held accountable."
"I can not — I will not — let extremists get in the way of the work we do," Whitmer said in the statement. "They will never break my unwavering faith to the goodness and decency of our people."
Prosecutors played secretly recorded conversations and read social media posts for the jury, who also heard testimony from two undercover FBI agents and an informant, according to the Associated Press.
Prosecutors urged jurors to focus on Fox and Croft's words in the months before FBI agents and undercover informants began to infiltrate their group in summer 2020, the AP reported. Assistant US Attorney Nils Kessler said in court that by the end of June 2020, Cox 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," according to the AP.
In closing arguments, Kessler said that the men's speech was not protected because they were planning for a crime, WXMI reported.
"There are a lot of things in this case that are complicated, but one thing is simple, kidnapping is wrong," Kessler said in court according to WXMI.