September 30, 2022

A judge has scheduled a second trial Thursday for two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

A jury in April acquitted two other men but was unable to reach a unanimous verdict for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. They have been described as leaders of an unbridled scheme to kidnap the Democratic governor at her vacation home before the 2020 election, sparking a civil war and preventing Joe Biden from winning the presidency.

US District Judge Robert Juncker has set a trial date after rejecting requests to acquit Fox and Croft of conspiracy and weapons charges.

It was a long shot: an acquittal would only work if Juncker believed the evidence was insufficient to convict the couple.

“We don’t know what the jury was thinking… There is enough here to say that a rational jury can still go against Mr. Fox, go against Mr. Croft, and even think about the outcome with respect to Mr. Harris and Mr. Juncker,” said Juncker.

He was referring to Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, who were acquitted.

The August trial will occur a week after the Republican primary when voters choose Whitmer’s Republican opponent in the November 8 election.

Prosecutors said the group was mired in anti-government extremism and outraged by Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions. There was evidence of a “shooting house” imprecisely constructed to practice getting in and out of her vacation home, and an overnight trip by Croft, Fox and undercover agents to check on the property.

T. Garbin and Caleb Franks pleaded guilty and testified in favor of the government.

Defense attorneys portrayed the men as weekend warriors, often stoned over marijuana and prone to big, wild talk. They said agents and informants cajoled the men into targeting the governor in a stinging operation.

Croft is from Bear, Delaware, while the others are from Michigan.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the Whitmer kidnapping plot trial at: https://apnews.com/hub/whitmer-kidnap-plot-trial

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