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Federal Grand Jury adds "weapons of mass destruction" charge in Whitmer kidnapping plot case

courtesy U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Michigan

A federal grand jury issued a new superseding indictment Wednesday over the alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The indictment charges three of the men with “conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction” in the plot. It also adds new weapons charges against two of the men.

The charges are new, but the details behind them had largely been revealed months ago. Prosecutors say three of the men attempted to detonate improvised explosive devices during a training exercise in July. In September, two of the men tried again, adding shrapnel to the IEDs and exploding them next to targets with human sillhouettes “to assess their effectiveness.”

Adam Fox, Daniel Harris and Barry Croft are all indicted under the new “weapons of mass destruction” charge. Fox and Harris are from Michigan. Croft is from Delaware. The new indictment also charges Harris for having a gun that wasn’t properly registered.

The men were arrested in October when they showed up to a meeting with an explosives expert they knew as "Red." Prosecutors say the men planned to buy enough explosives to take out a bridge. But "Red" was an undercover agent for the FBI.

A total of 14 men have been charged in both federal and state courts over the alleged plot. Six of them were charged in federal court. One man, Ty Garbin, already pleaded guilty to the kidnapping charges. His lawyers said in January that the possibility of new “weapons of mass destruction” charges were a “major factor” in his decision to plead guilty.

Garbin faces sentencing in July. A federal trial for the remaining five men – Adam Fox, Daniel Harris, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks and Brandon Caserta – is scheduled for October.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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