A federal jury failed to convict four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whom they despised for the restrictions she ordered early in the pandemic.
The panel in Grand Rapids considered charges against Daniel Harris, 24, Adam Fox, 38, Barry Croft Jr., 46, and Brandon Caserta, 33, all charged with conspiracy.
All but Caserta are also charged with knowingly conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction against persons or property, in an alleged plot to slow responding police.
Croft and Harris were also charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device. Harris was charged with possession of a semi-automatic assault rifle that wasn’t registered to him.
Harris was found not guilty of all four charges, but jurors could not reach verdicts in charges against Fox and Croft. The judge declared a mistrial in those counts.
Caserta was found not guilty of conspiracy.
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Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks had also been arrested as part of the conspiracy before they pleaded guilty and testified in this trial.The high-profile federal prosecution in western Michigan was rocked in March when FBI agents raided a home near Detroit in connection with reported threats against a judge and defense lawyers in this trial.
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A home was searched in Hazel Park, a suburb just north of Detroit, “to identify the source of any threat made to anyone involved with the ongoing prosecution in Grand Rapids,” the agency said.
The alleged to kidnap Whitmer unraveled in October 2020, when more than a dozen men were arrested on federal and state charges.
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They sought to capture Whitmer from her vacation home and take her to Wisconsin where she’d be put on “trial,” authorities have said.
The Democratic governor had drawn the ire of far-right activists opposed to her pandemic restrictions that year to curb the spread of Covid.
Armed protesters took to the streets of Lansing, the state capital, during the early days of Whitmer’s coronavirus orders. Then-President Donald Trump famously tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” that April.