Jury Declares 2 Men Not Guilty in Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping Plot 

Michigan Governor Kidnapping Plot Defendants (Associated Press)
Associated Press

A federal jury on Friday found two men not guilty and failed to reach a verdict for two other suspects in the conspiracy case to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

The jury found suspects Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta not guilty of conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer. However, the jury deadlocked on charges against suspects Adam Fox and Barry Croft, resulting in a mistrial.

“After using the suggestions of the court, we’re still unable to reach a unanimous decision on several counts,” the jury said in a note after three hours of deliberations.

“You have to vote your own conscience at the end of the day. See if anything moves you on a locked decision,” the judge told the jury.

Three hours after that, the jury returned with its partial verdicts.

All four defendants were charged with kidnapping conspiracy, and three were charged with weapons of mass destruction. The alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer resulted in over a dozen arrests on federal and state charges after FBI agents unraveled the plan in October 2020.

The prosecution argued that the men planned to kidnap Whitmer because they felt the governor was infringing on their freedoms while Michigan dealt with the coronavirus’s impact. However, the defense argued, “that was all fantasy talk carried out by men who were stoned most of the time, and that they had no real plan or ever intended to kidnap Whitmer.”

The FBI became involved in the alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer after a former member of the group became disgruntled with their message of violence.

As the Detroit Free Press explained:

The witness who helped crack the case was a former Wolverine Watchmen who told jurors he quit the group after hearing the men talking about killing police, told his cop-friend about it, and then got a call from the FBI asking him if he would go undercover. He agreed, and became known to the group as Big Dan.

The defense argued that Big Dan was the catalyst for the kidnapping plot, as he drove the suspects to a warehouse, where they thought they would purchase equipment for the plot but were ultimately arrested by federal agents.

Caserta’s defense attorney Mike Hills said the FBI’s actions were “unconscionable.” “I think what the FBI did is unconscionable. And I think the jury just sent them a message loud and clear,” he said.

Hills chalked up the defendant’s behavior to “rough talk,” and said, “We have the freedom to say that. If I don’t like the governor and it’s rough talk, I can do that in our country.”

“That’s what’s beautiful about this country. That’s what’s great about it,” he added.

After the jury’s decision, Gov. Whitmer said the alleged plot is “the result of violent, divisive rhetoric that is all too common across our country.”

“There must be accountability and consequences for those who commit heinous crimes. Without accountability, extremists will be emboldened,” Whitmer said.


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