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Two Michigan Men Convicted of Conspiracy to Kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Two Michigan Men Convicted of Conspiracy to Kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The suspects in the kidnapping plot claim the FBI set them up.

A Michigan jury found Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. guilty of conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The jury also convicted the two men of conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction. From The Detroit Free Press:

The defense long argued that this was a case of entrapment, that the defendants were merely tough-talking potheads who were venting about their government, and that rogue FBI agents and informants set them up.

The prosecution, however, argued the men did a lot more than talk — they took action to carry out their plan, including casing Whitmer’s vacation home twice, building explosives, holding secret meetings, and practicing breaking-and-entering drills in shoot-houses they built that mimicked her cottage.

In the end, the jury sided with the government, delivering a major victory not only to the prosecutors, but to the FBI as the agency’s reputation came under assault during this trial, with the defense repeatedly blasting agents an informants, calling them liars and manipulators with overreaching powers.

“The defendants in this case believed that their antigovernment views justified violence. Today’s verdict is a clear example that they were wrong in that assessment,” said Special Agent in Charge David Porter, who oversees the FBI office in Grand Rapids.

This was the second trial for Fox and Croft. The first jury could not reach a unanimous vote.

Another jury acquitted two men. Two other men pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecutors.

The entrapment accusation came out in July 2021 by BuzzFeed of all places. The outlet reviewed the evidence and found out that at least 12 of the FBI confidential informants had a larger role in the plot:

An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.

A longtime government informant from Wisconsin, for example, helped organize a series of meetings around the country where many of the alleged plotters first met one another and the earliest notions of a plan took root, some of those people say. The Wisconsin informant even paid for some hotel rooms and food as an incentive to get people to come.

The Iraq War vet, for his part, became so deeply enmeshed in a Michigan militant group that he rose to become its second-in-command, encouraging members to collaborate with other potential suspects and paying for their transportation to meetings. He prodded the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping plot to advance his plan, then baited the trap that led to the arrest.

The defendants said, “their talk never rose beyond the level of fantasy and they never intended to harm anyone.” They accuse the government of targeting them due to their political views:

Although they have not denied participating in training events, attending meetings, and communicating with other defendants, they claim that no actual conspiracy to kidnap the governor ever existed.

Instead, they say, they were targeted because of their political views. Some describe the case as a premeditated campaign by the government to undermine the Patriot movement, an ideology based on fealty to the Second Amendment and the conviction that the government has violated the Constitution and is therefore illegitimate. They argue that the recordings and text messages that the government calls proof of a criminal conspiracy are in fact constitutionally protected speech — expressions of frustration at what they see as the government’s betrayal of its citizens.

Brandon Caserta, one of the men acquitted this spring, had text messages between one informant and an FBI agent. Caserta said the messages show the agent directed the informant “to draw specific people into the conspiracy — potential evidence of entrapment that he said the government ‘inadvertently disclosed.’”

The report revealed the informant received a handsome reward despite claiming he became one because he is a Good Samaritan:

[Lawyer Kareem] Johnson and the other defense lawyers have taken pains to note that despite his claims that he acted as a good Samaritan, Dan was rewarded financially for his work as an informant. In testimony, Dan described how his handlers eventually gave him envelopes of cash, covered his mortgage and car payment, and also bought him a phone, computer, and the new vehicle. When Dan sold his house in December because he was concerned people in the Patriot movement knew his address, the bureau even reimbursed him for what he testified was a $4,500 loss on the deal. The grand total for his seven months of work, including reimbursement for expenses, was $54,793.95, considerably more than most families in Dan’s part of Michigan bring home in a year.

“All of this evidence underscores the extremely active and coercive role the CHSs played in this matter,” wrote Scott Graham, Kaleb Franks’ attorney, in a motion filed last week.

Caserta said last week the jury needed to acquit Fox and Croft:

“It’s ridiculous the government still going to try to push the narrative that these people are actually terrorists and wanted to do violence,” Caserta told reporters outside federal court Thursday.

“Let these boys out of here, I hope this jury does the same thing and let them free,” Caserta said.

Caserta spoke to reporters outside U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids Thursday, after he was called by the defense to testify but invoked the Fifth Amendment for fear of self-incrimination.

Caserta, a self-described anarchist, said he hasn’t changed his beliefs following his acquittal. The 35-year-old spent 18 months in jail while awaiting trial.

“There’s a difference from sharing things and actually doing things that are violent. A big difference,” he said.

Julie Kelly had a great thread:

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Comments

taurus the judge | August 23, 2022 at 1:05 pm

Although I personally view this case as entrapment at worst or at best 2 mentally challenged yahoos “goaded” by the govt- these guys crossed any line of common sense when they put act to word.

    Or to put it another way, they did pretty much what some here are advocating.

      taurus the judge in reply to txvet2. | August 23, 2022 at 3:08 pm

      Unfortunately, you are correct

      scooterjay in reply to txvet2. | August 23, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      “…they did pretty much what some here are advocating.”

      That is what everyone gets wrong (and the reason for the shadow ban, ahem).
      No one advocates overthrow. It is about self-protection in the face of an out of control government that is hiring 87,000 armed agents for its tax collection arm.

        txvet2 in reply to scooterjay. | August 23, 2022 at 8:13 pm

        I guarantee you that’s not the way they see it.

          Arminius in reply to txvet2. | August 23, 2022 at 11:41 pm

          Yes. But that’s because the “they” you’re referring to are the ones in rebellion. The rebels are inside the building having completed their Gramscian long march through and finally taking over the institutions that contain the levers of power. And like all true Bolsheviks they are dedicated to destroying those remaining loyal to the Constitution By Any Means Necessary (a favorite Antifa acronym; BAMN!) since it means the Kulaks are opposing their overthrow of the Constitution.

          And they’re quite blatant about their desire to overthrow the Constitution and the “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” it establishes.

          Here’s a tell that demonstrates who is domestic enemy of the Constitution. Anyone who speaks with practically religious reverence about “our [sacred] Democracy.” Some ignoramuses don’t know what they’re saying. The ones who do know, and mean it, are the enemies of the U.S. Constitution.

          Whatever secret ingredients “their Democracy” consists of it’s unconstitutional. Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution couldn’t be clearer.

          “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

          Despite the brain-dead, wholly unpersuasive attempts I’ve read by some supposedly conservative writers (one such blogging at The Volokh Conspiracy) that you can use the words “Democracy” and “Republic” interchangeably, no, you can’t. You couldn’t at the time the Constitution was written; Federalist no. 10 explains why the founders rejected Democracy as perhaps the worst form of government. They have historically proven unstable, descending into mob rule as majorities discover they can vote themselves money by taking it from others, descending into violence since fifty percent plus one of the mob will decide the minorities have no rights to anything including their lives and property, and they dictatorship as a “strongman” restores order.

          As we’ve seen with our own eyes in the 2020 George Floyd-inspired “Summer of Love” orgy of violence as rioters variously chanted, “No borders, no walls, no USA at all!” “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!” And the ever popular, “This is what Democracy looks like!”

          The Antifa/#BLM rioterss were exactly right. That is what Democracy looks like. That’s why we don’t have one, and in fact our Constitution makes Democracy illegal. Nice of them to explain in no uncertain terms that you still can’t use “Democracy” and “Republic” interchangeably.

          Again, this is why we live in a Republic, not a Democracy. Fortunately, the “our Democracy” crowd is now sufficiently dumbed down to think the Constitution which is designed to preserve a Republic was somehow written by mistake rather than by design.

          https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/08/down-with-the-constitution.php

          “DOWN WITH THE CONSTITUTION!

          …But check out this op-ed in the New York Times, which is literally one of the stupidest things I have ever read. Its authors are Ryan Doerfler and Samuel Moyn, professors at Harvard Law School and Yale Law School respectively. The op-ed advocates doing away entirely with the Constitution. Why? The authors don’t quite put it this way, but the reason is that the Constitution fails to establish a pure democracy by plebiscite, and makes it difficult to use a transient majority to effect radical change. Those who had a high school civics class understand that this is more or less the point.

          ‘One reason for these woeful outcomes is that our current Constitution is inadequate, which is why it serves reactionaries so well. Starting with a text that is famously undemocratic, progressives are forced to navigate hard-wired features, like the Electoral College and the Senate, designed as impediments to redistributive change…’

          Shocka! Our Constitution is “inadequate” because it doesn’t permit its own overthrow in favor of the unconstitutional Communist revolution they’ve been working toward all their lives. And by “reactionaries” they mean anyone who told the truth and meant it when they took their oath of office and swore to “serve, protect, and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

          We are in the midst of the only possible rebellion in a constitutional republic. Government functionaries who are only loyal to one thing; retaining their own power as in order to affect their coup they have to overthrow the Constitution which establishes the “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” that stands between them and unchecked power.

          This is why they need to prevent Trump from ever holding office. The people need to learn their lesson that they can’t elect anyone without their approval and permission. No wonder they loves them some Iranian theocracy. They are the self-appointed “Guardian Council” that along with the “Supreme Leader” (Soros?) approve candidates the voters are allowed to vote for.

          We should probably thank Biden’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Dale Ho. A self-described wild-eyed leftist and head of ACLU’s voting rights project he explained during his testimony at his confirmation hearings that the Constitution is unconstitutional as it prevents the rebels from establishing that precious “our Democracy” thingy we’re all supposed to be loyal to instead of the Republic established by the U.S. Constitution as written.

          https://townhall.com/tipsheet/spencerbrown/2021/12/17/controversial-biden-nominee-dale-ho-steps-in-it-again-n2600745

          “The director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s voting rights project is on tape describing the Senate and the Electoral College as “anti-democratic” institutions. Not merely undemocratic, mind you, but quite literally opposed to the principle of democracy itself.

          “We had obviously lots of practices that are anti-democratic, that entrench in some ways minority rule in this country, and I’m talking about things like, you know, the Senate, the Electoral College, and the maldistribution of political power that results from those institutions,” Ho remarked in 2018 during an appearance at the National Civic Leadership Training Summit.”

          Yet Ho wants to be a federal judge. In order to be a federal judge he has to take an oath as I did when I became a Naval officer to “serve, protect, and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” But he just declared himself, loudly and repeatedly, a domestic enemy of the Constitution because it’s “anti-democratic.” Still, it was nice of him to out himself.

          If a Democracy weren’t an unconstitutional form of government no part of the U.S. Constitution would be in conflict with it. But the Constitution does conflict with unconstitutional forms of government. By design. How many times do I need to repeat that? Of course, like all Democrats he’s perfectly willing to lie and swear a false oath to “serve, protect, and defend” the document that establishes the foundational law of the land in order to get into a position of power from which he can destroy it.

          Demonstrating that no Democrat has sworn a truth oath to the U.S. Constitution when sworn into office in decades the Judiciary Committee deadlocked on Ho’s nomination in January 2022 voting along party lines. 11 Democrats voting to install a domestic enemy of the Constitution on the federal bench with 11 Republicans voting to oppose.

          And remember Lyin’ Joe Biden nominated him. Just as he nominated Linda Thomas-Greenfield as his U.N. Ambassador. And for some insane reason the Senate confirmed her despite the fact she repeated (and apparently believes) the Marxist lie that America’s history of slavery “weaved White supremacy into our founding documents and principles.”

          Does anyone doubt that someone who believes that lie also lied when taking her oath of office. Or that she reflects Biden’s ‘tude toward the U.S. Constitution? As does Ho’s true belief that the U.S. Constitution is unconstitutional since it gets in the way of its own overthrow?

          Note I shifted to emphasis on “U.S. Constitution.” That’s because I know what historical constitution they’re loyal. They are imposing the Soviet constitution. The Soviet constitution established an unquestionable one-party rule over the country. That’s what the left means by “our Democracy.” An unquestionable single party oligarchy in which people can vote. Their votes are as meaningless as voting in North Korea. You’ll never have the option of voting out the Kim dynasty in North Korea, and you’ll never have the option of voting out the Dems or their policies. The Deep State will make sure of that.

          Oh, and the Soviet Constitution at some point criminalized “anti-Soviet agitation” (at some point Article 70 was removed and anti-Soviet agitation was criminalized by statute). As have the Democrats; they just use different words. That’s why the J6 rioters are rotting in jail. You can riot for the Soviet state against dissenters. You can’t riot against the Soviet state for the U.S. Constitution. And by riot I don’t mean committing arson, assault, looting, or even murder as long as it’s the left doing it against people the establishment left hates. That’s legal. I mean grannies waving American flags as they commit the heinous crimes of “illegal parading” or “trespass.” Or simply dissenting at all, but at the moment the establishment left is content with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the MFM censoring that.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to taurus the judge. | August 25, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    What they did shows that theyr are not very bright, but that does not excuse the FBI’s conduct.

E Howard Hunt | August 23, 2022 at 1:09 pm

They are guilty of being retarded. The FBI had to do a lot of work to find people so profoundly stupid to fall for their scheme.

    henrybowman in reply to E Howard Hunt. | August 23, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    This. This is yet another case of “low-hanging fruit.” Had the FBI not adopted and groomed these guys, they would have spent the rest of their lives in front of the TV, drinking beer.

    These guys figured out how to obtain the plans to Whitmer’s cottage, then built a shoot house to duplicate it?

    Puh-leeze.

    Stupid *and* drugged to the gills for most of the recordings. So proud of nearly twenty FBI agents and confidential informants who managed to encourage two dumb nearly homeless vagrants into saying stupid things while buying them vast quantities of drugs.

When any government agency has to do all or most of the leg work themselves in order for a “crime” to be committed such charges should be tossed automatically.

    healthguyfsu in reply to NotCoach. | August 23, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    It’s textbook entrapment. Law enforcement is allowed to embed operatives into a sting or undercover operation. They can’t plot and mastermind an operation and recruit a couple dupes then charge them with the conspiracy that they themselves created in the first place.

The judge limited the defense cross examination of prosecution witnesses to the time the prosecution took to ask its questions.

Looking into the crystal ball I see the words “successful appeal”.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Gosport. | August 23, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    The Federales cannot allow a successful appeal to take place, because now their not only reputation as a “crime fighting” organization is at stake, but also their reputation as an organization that can take down the political enemies of their masters is at stake.

    Subotai Bahadur

      Honestly, a successful appeal probably won’t hurt them.

      They got the headlines for their audience — Trump Supporters Convicted of Kidnapping.

      Like the “murder” of Officer Sicknick, the story is already set in stone and no amount of new facts three months later will make any difference.

      Gotta agree with clintack on this. The prosecutors needed a win to save their J6 cases to make it appear they are justified at going after Trump. And any and all of his supporters between now and the midterms.

      All that matters to the DoJ/FBI is saving their own asses in the short term. They have to maintain the fiction that J6 was “armed,” “deadly,” and an “insurrection.”

      Only the politicized Trump hating Capital and Metropolitan police forces were armed, it was only deadly for Trump supporters, and the only insurrection is being carried out by the Democrats and the institutions they control.

      They could care less if these convictions are overturned. That’ll be after the midterms and by then it won’t matter. And these prosecutors and this crooked judge will fail upwards. Just like former Enron Task Force head Andrew Weissmann, who went on to become the Mueller investigation Deputy Special Counsel after his Enron convictions were obliterated.

      https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/oct/22/christopher-wray-robert-muellers-top-prosecutor-kn/#:~:text=Mr.%20Weissmann%E2%80%99s%20cases%20against%20Andersen%20and%20Merrill%20Lynch,the%20fraud%20convictions%20against%20four%20Merrill%20Lynch%20managers.

      “Andrew Weissmann, Robert Mueller’s top prosecutor, known for hardball tactics”

      By “hardball tactics” the cowardly Washington Examiner headline writers mean unethical, even illegal tactics.

      “…’Do not misunderstand my disdain for him with ineffectiveness or something not to be concerned with,’ said Dan Cogdell, who represented three Enron defendants. ‘He’s a formable prosecutor. If I’m Donald Trump and I know the backstory of Andrew Weissmann, it’s going to concern me. There is no question about it.’

      …They say he intimidated witnesses by threatening indictments, created crimes that did not exist and, in one case, withheld evidence that could have aided the accused. At one hearing, an incredulous district court judge looked down at an Enron defendant and told him he was pleading guilty to a wire fraud crime that did not exist.”

      This is one reason I rarely cite the Washington Examiner. They act like this is a “he said, she said” situation and like the motive of Muslim committing a knife jihad shouting “Allahu Akbar” we’ll just never know the truth.

      There’s no question he should have been disbarred a long time ago.

      https://thefederalist.com/2019/03/05/explosive-new-documents-reveal-andrew-weissmanns-misconduct-enron-case/

      “Weissmann also destroyed the former accounting giant Arthur Andersen by pushing a phony criminal case. The Supreme Court eventually overturned it unanimously, but only years later, after the damage had been done.”

      He had to get the win against Arthur Anderson to get convictions of Enron and Meryll Linch executives, all of whom had their fraud convictions overturned as well.

      To convict Arthur Anderson of a corporate crime he had to convince a judge to issue jury instructions that he knew stood the law r.e. destruction of documents on its head. The judge instructed the jury that it didn’t have to find that Arthur Anderson had destroyed evidence to obstruct the criminal investigation. In fact, the law required that.

      When rumors began to circulate that Enron might be in financial trouble, Arthur Anderson as Enron’s outside auditor and possessor of all Enron financial documents set up a “crisis response team” just in case. The team was instructed to follow the company’s document retention policy. Months later when those documents were subpoenaed, in accordance with their document retention policy, instructed the team to stop destroying any Enron documents.

      Contrary to the plain language of the controlling laws, Weissmann decided the destruction of Enron documents before the subpoena was issued was “obstruction of justice.” It wasn’t. In order to gain the conviction Weissmann convinced the judge to use his language in the jury instructions. Which ran counter to the law.

      Which is why the SCOTUS overturned the conviction 9-0.

      Too late for Arthur Anderson the corporation and the 85,000 employees Weissmann put out of work.

      And Weissmann and prosecutors like him could care less.

      Do you imagine the 51 “intel professionals” who lied and said the Hunter Biden laptops were full of “Russian disinformation” care now that their lies have been exposed? Do you imagine that the leftist news agencies who just wanted cover so they could quash the story care? They probably knew Clapper/Brennan/Morrell were lying all along since that was what they did professionally and couldn’t care less. Do you think Harry Reid lost a moment of sleep when he was exposed he was lying about Mitt Romney not paying taxes after Obama was elected in 2012.

So to be clear, they simply seated a juror the defense objected to WITHOUT letting the defense know why they were being seated, they changed the jury instructions from the first trial to a ludicrously tortured interpretation of what ‘entrapment’ is, explicitly limited the time the defense was allowed to question witnesses that whose testimony was catastrophically impeached in the first trial, and publicly berated the defense for ‘wasting time’ by trying to impeach them again.

They got their precious conviction, they don’t care about the facts or whether it will stand on appeal.

This judge should be disbarred over this travesty.

    Olinser in reply to Olinser. | August 23, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    Oh and apparently the judge also refused to allow the defense to show the jury the text messages that clearly proved entrapment.

    This was a clown show, not a trial.

      Barry in reply to Olinser. | August 24, 2022 at 1:23 am

      +1000

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Olinser. | August 24, 2022 at 5:07 pm

      Some still question my sentiment that we have no actual justice in our courtrooms.

      Your guilt or innocence depends on how crooked or how “instructed” the judge is, and how well your attorney tangos compared to the persecution.

If I’m ever seated on a federal jury, I will never vote to convict. The DoJ and FBI are totally corrupt.

I’m a not guilty vote on ANY trial where the FBI is involved in any way. The only possible exception would be for a trial of a Democrat elected official. Then I’m an automatic guilty verdict.

A set em up and strike em down by the FBI

Great job guys

Doubt FBI wants me on a Federal Jury

Sad, so sad

Extraordinary corruption. Progressive Corruption. In the District of Corruption.

Exhibit -checks- million for why judges are important and why Bushlike candidates need to be rejected.

Capitalist-Dad | August 23, 2022 at 3:50 pm

The lousy Feebs are not interested in any crime committed by a Democrat or Democrat thugstapo blackshirts like BLM and Antifa.but are great at solving crimes they instigate through “informants.” When it’s entrapment like this—the principal FBI inside man was Chief instigator, chief planner, and would rally the now convicted schlubs whenever they wanted to back out—there is no excuse for rewarding the despotic Democrat regime with a conviction. This jury was STUPID and gullible!

Capitalist-Dad | August 23, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Plus more evidence, as if we needed it, that the central tyranny is rotten through and through.

(Judge?) Jonker repeatedly interrupted the defense lawyers during their cross-examination of government witnesses, cut short their questioning, scolded them for what he viewed as redundant and irrelevant questioning, and, by the end of the trial, imposed a time limit: The defense could only take as long with witnesses as the prosecution did. (Detroit Free Press).

Equal Time? Equity? Reversible Error?

This is a Judicial concept of which I am unaware – probably because I passed the D.C. Bar in 1974 and have the cognitive acuity of “You Ain’t Black” Biden.