Updated Jun 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge orders new trial for two accused in Whitmer kidnapping plot

Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, during an opening event.
Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, during an opening event.

A federal judge Thursday ordered two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to face a retrial about three months after jurors failed to reach a verdict, multiple outlets report.

Why it matters: The two suspects, Adam Fox and Barry Croft, sought acquittal from the court after their earlier trial in the kidnapping plot ended in a mistrial.

Catch up fast: Croft and Fox were among six men charged in October for an alleged plot to violently overthrow the government and kidnap Whitmer, Axios' Erin Doherty writes.

  • Two of the men, Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris, were found not guilty back in April. Meanwhile, a unanimous verdict was not reached for Fox and Croft.
  • Fox and Croft requested for the charges to be dropped after a 20-day trial left jurors deadlocked, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Details: Prosecutors sought to hold new trials for Fox and Croft. But defense attorneys said there's insufficient evidence to convict them of the kidnapping conspiracy or agreeing to use a weapon of mass destruction, the Detroit News reports.

  • The defense attorneys argued the charges should be dismissed since Harris and Caserta were found not guilty, per Fox 17.
  • Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker disagreed on Thursday, saying "a rational jury" could rule against Fox and Croft.
  • “We will need to have another jury weigh the evidence," Jonker said, per the Detroit News.
  • The judge said a new trial should start "as soon as we can."

The big picture: Whitmer was the subject of a kidnapping plot in which individuals planned to overthrow the government and kidnap her.

  • She was previously targeted by right-wing groups for implementing strict COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic.
  • Whitmer criticized then-President Trump after the FBI stopped an alleged plot to kidnap her. She said Trump was partially responsible for the anger since he encouraged protests in Michigan.
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