DETROIT (AP) — A judge has set Thursday as August 9 for a second trial of two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
In April, a jury acquitted two other men but could not reach a unanimous verdict for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. They were described as leaders of a harebrained plot to kidnap the Democratic governor from her vacation home before the election. of 2020, trigger a civil war and prevent Joe Biden from winning the presidency.
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US District Judge Robert Jonker set the trial date after rejecting requests to acquit Fox and Croft on conspiracy and weapons charges.
It was a long shot: an acquittal would fit in only if Jonker believed the evidence was insufficient to convict the pair.
“We don’t know what the jury was thinking. … There is 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. Harris and Mr. Caserta,” Jonker said.
He was referring to Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, who were acquitted.
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The August trial would occur a week after the Republican primary when voters choose Whitmer’s Republican opponent in the Nov. 8 election.
Prosecutors said the group was steeped in anti-government extremism and furious about Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions. There was evidence of a crudely constructed “shoot house” to practice entering and exiting their vacation home, and a night walk by Croft, Fox and undercover agents to check out the property.
Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks pleaded guilty and testified for the government.
Defense attorneys portrayed the men as weekend warriors, often high on marijuana and prone to talking wildly. They said the agents and informants lured the men into attacking the governor in a covert operation.
Croft is from Bear, Delaware, while the others are from Michigan.
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