Updated Dec 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Whitmer kidnapping plot ringleader sentenced to 16 years in prison

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in East Lansing in November 2022.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in East Lansing in November 2022. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Adam Fox, who was convicted in August of conspiring to abduct Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, was sentenced to 16 years in prison by a U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Fox and his co-defendant were accused of leading the plot to kidnap Whitmer and violently attack and overthrow the state government, though it was ultimately disrupted by the FBI.

  • Both Fox and Barry Croft Jr. were convicted on one count each of conspiring to abduct the governor and conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Prosecutors said they planned to use a bomb to destroy a bridge as part of the kidnapping plot.
  • Fox faced a possible life sentence over the convictions.

What they're saying: "Mr. Fox, and his confederate Mr. Croft, were convicted by a jury of masterminding a plot to kidnap the Governor of Michigan and to use weapons of mass destruction against responding law enforcement," Matthew Olsen, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's National Security Division, said in a statement.

  • "Today’s sentence reflects the Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to protecting our elected officials, law enforcement officers, and dedicated public servants from criminal threats and violence — and to holding the perpetrators of such acts fully accountable under the law," Olsen added.

The big picture: Three men were sentenced earlier this month after being found guilty of providing material support to a terrorist act over the plot, which was partially in response to Whitmer's COVID-19 restrictions.

What's next: Croft, who was also found guilty of knowingly possessing an unregistered destructive device, is set to be sentenced on Wednesday. He faces a possible life sentence.

Go deeper: DHS chief warns of "emerging threat of the domestic violent extremist"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with a statement from the Justice Department.

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