2 Defendants Acquitted In Plot To Kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Two out of four defendants were acquitted on Friday evening after the fifth day of deliberations for alleged association with a plan to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer back in 2020. The jury could not come to a verdict on the other two, and the judge declared a mistrial. Adam Fox and Barry Froft Jr. will face a retrial in the future.
In 2020, 13 men who were members of the Wolverine Watchmen, a Michigan militia group, were all charged for their involvement in the planned kidnapping. Prosecutors said that they had trained with the goal of taking Whitmer captive and leaving her in the middle of Lake Michigan on a boat without an engine. The plan also included blowing up a bridge to delay law enforcement. Six of the men were indicted and face up to life in prison. They hatched the plan in anger at the Governor for imposing COVID-19 related lockdown orders across the state.
The trial included secretly recorded audio recordings, messages and social media posts, mainly supplied by Army vet Dan Chappel who joined the group and went undercover for the FBI.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome. … We have two defendants that are awaiting trial and we’ll get back to work on that,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said.
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Whitmer has not commented on the trial, but her chief of staff JoAnne Huls condemned the decision.
“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,” she said. “There must be accountability and consequences for those who commit heinous crimes. Without accountability, extremists will be emboldened.”
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