No Convictions in Gretchen Whitmer Attempted Kidnapping Case

A couple weeks ago I penned an article detailing the FBI’s role in keeping the group together that was ultimately accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. As of Friday, the four men on trial for the alleged attempt on Michigan’s governor were cleared of all charges. Defendants Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were acquitted of their charges. Meanwhile, verdicts could not be reached for defendants Adam Fox and Barry Croft, and a mistrial was declared in their cases by US District Judge Robert Jonker.

It was Croft’s defense attorney Joshua Blanchard, who I wrote had made the case that the FBI had engaged in entrapment against his client. He later called the investigation “an embarrassment,” and declared “We have to tell them this isn’t how our country operates. This isn’t how our justice system is supposed to work. We can’t use people like Barry Croft, and Adam Fox, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta. We can’t use them as pawns in order to advance our interests.” Of the argument laid out by Fox’s lawyer, CNN said the following:

Defense attorneys claimed federal law enforcement manufactured the alleged kidnapping conspiracy through confidential informants and undercover agents.
Fox, who was impoverished, unfocused and had little tactical abilities, never would’ve found his way to the alleged crimes without the coaxing of a paid confidential informant who propped up Fox as a leader of the plot, Fox’s attorney told the jury.”
It looks like the jury, and Judge Jonker, ultimately heard those arguments. When you hear this story of how a few federal agents can whip up some unwitting Joe-blows with an anti-authoritarian streak and almost dupe them into seriously conspiring to kidnap a governor, it gives you pause to consider what federal law enforcement’s goals truly are. This comes just days after a January 6 defendant who had claimed that Capitol Police had simply let him in to the Capitol building was found not guilty. Entrapment of their political enemies in order to further their narrative of right-wing violence is simply inexcusable for our federal government.
JoAnne Huls, Whitmer’s Chief of Staff, is of course holding the line that this was some awful miscarriage of justice and that right-wing violence is a legitimate threat. Here’s her official statement:

Today, Michiganders and Americans—especially our children—are living through the normalization of political violence. The plot to kidnap and kill a governor may seem like an anomaly. But we must be honest about what it really is: the result of violent, divisive rhetoric that is all too common across our country. There must be accountability and consequences for those who commit heinous crimes. Without accountability, extremists will be emboldened.

“The governor remains focused on her work on behalf of Michigan and all Michiganders. That includes addressing violence and threats to our democracy. We appreciate the prosecutors and law enforcement officers for their work on this case.”

Two other men accused of taking part in the plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, took plea deals and testified at the trial. One has to wonder if they did so purely out of fear, and could have instead gone free like Croft, Fox, Harris, and Caserta had they not.

Brady Bowyer is a veteran of many political campaigns ranging from the municipal to federal level, as well as several pro-freedom PACs and nonprofits. Check out more of Brady’s work on his Substack, Leaning into Liberty. He and his wife are proud to call South Carolina’s Lowcountry their home.

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