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It's now up to a jury to decide if two men are guilty of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Adam Fox
Screenshot of Adam Fox, from a video submitted as evidence in federal court.

The fates of two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer now rests in the hands of a federal jury in Grand Rapids.

Defendants Adam Fox and Barry Croft are charged with conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. They were among more than a dozen men arrested in the fall of 2020, accused to being part of the alleged kidnapping plot.

“You can’t just strap on an AR-15 and body armor and go snatch the governor,” Asst. U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler began as he delivered his closing statement.

Kessler told the jury that kidnapping the governor was not the sole objective of the group known as the Wolverine Watchmen.

The federal prosecutor told the jury, “They wanted to set off a second American civil war and a second American revolution, something they called the boogaloo.”

But in their closing arguments, defense attorneys slammed the government’s case.

“The government’s case is a presentation of half-truths,” lawyer Chris Gibbons told the jury. Gibbons represents Adam Fox.

Gibbons insists the accused kidnap plotters were nothing more than “big talkers.”

Defense attorney Joshua Blanchard argued that expressing his negative opinions of the FBI is why the agency decided to target defendant Barry Croft Jr. and tried to make him a party to the alleged kidnap plot.

“This isn’t Russia. This isn’t how our country works,” Blanchard said. “You don’t get to suspect that someone might commit a crime because you don’t like the things that they say.”

Asst. U.S. Attorney Kessler labelled that claim “ridiculous.”

“These defendants were outside a woman’s house in the middle of the night with night vision googles and guns and a plan to kidnap her,” Kessler told the jury. “That’s enough, isn’t it?”

This is the second trial for Croft and Fox. Earlier this year, a jury deadlocked on charges against them, while acquitting two other defendants.

Two other men have pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the alleged kidnapping plot.

There are also state cases pending against more than a half dozen other men charged in connection with the alleged kidnapping plot.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.