4 accused in Gretchen Whitmer kidnap plot to face trial
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Were they gullible foul-mouthed men under the spell of undercover agents? Or a rogue cast seething with enough anger to actually want to kidnap Michigan’s governor?
Jury selection begins Tuesday in the trial of four men who are accused of conspiring to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a stunning scheme to retaliate against her stay-home policies and other COVID-19 restrictions during the early months of the pandemic.
In 2020, Whitmer, a Democrat, was trading taunts with then-President Donald Trump over his administration’s response to COVID-19. Her critics, meanwhile, were regularly protesting at the Michigan Capitol, clogging streets around the statehouse and legally carrying semi-automatic rifles into the building.
During that turbulent time, Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft Jr. and Daniel Harris were plotting to snatch Whitmer, prosecutors say. They’re accused of taking critical steps over several months, including secret messaging, gun drills in the woods and a night drive to northern Michigan to scout her second home and figure out how to blow up a bridge.
The FBI, which had infiltrated the group, said it thwarted the plan with the arrests of six men in October 2020. Two of them, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, have pleaded guilty and will appear as crucial witnesses for the government, giving jurors an inside view of what was planned.
Garbin, for example, said Fox, the alleged ringleader, wanted the men to chip in for a $4,000 explosive large enough to destroy a bridge near Whitmer’s home and distract police during a kidnapping.
“The blood of tyrants needs to be shed,” Garbin quoted Caserta as saying during a meeting.
Trial next for 4 accused in Michigan governor kidnap plot The Associated Press – en Español