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FBI raids Hazel Park home over death threats to key players in Whitmer kidnap trial – Detroit Free Press


Four men charged with plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer listen as one of their codefendants testifies against them on March 24, 2022 in U.S. District Court. From left to right are: Barry Croft, Brandon Caserta, Adam Fox and Daniel Harris.

The FBI is investigating alleged death threats against key players in the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnap trial, including an alleged “double agent” who is fighting to stay off the stand, the judge overseeing the case and two defense lawyers,  the Free Press has learned.

According to FBI spokesperson Mara Schneider, the FBI raided a home in Hazel Park on Friday after receiving information about alleged death threats involving participants in the trial. Separately, she said, the FBI also received information that former FBI informant Steve Robeson reported getting a death threat to a newspaper in Wisconsin.

Robeson, who lives in Wisconsin, is the FBI informant whom prosecutors have dubbed a “double agent,” alleging he was helping the Whitmer kidnap plotters when he was supposed to be investigating them, so he got fired from the case.

Schneider would not comment on the alleged death threats, stating only:

“Detroit will work closely with other FBI field offices and with our law enforcement partners across the country to identify the source of any threat made to anyone involved with the ongoing prosecution in Grand Rapids. Individuals found responsible for making threats in violation of state and/or federal law will be referred for prosecution in the appropriate jurisdiction,” Schneider stated.

Fired FBI informant Steve Robeson of Wisconsin is asking a judge not to force him to testify in the trial of four men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretechen Whitmer.

More: ‘Double agent’ warns Whitmer kidnap suspects: I could hurt you if I testify

More: Defense fights to put ‘double agent’ on stand in Whitmer kidnap plot trial

The alleged threats come as the trial stretches into week three, with the prosecution resting its case on Wednesday. The defense is now beginning to present its case, putting witnesses on the stand that it hopes will convince jurors that their clients were merely tough talkers, that they had no real plan to kidnap the governor, and that the FBI entrapped them.

The FBI does not expect any trial delays because of the alleged death threats.

“We do not anticipate there being any impact on the ongoing prosecution,” Schneider said. “We will continue to work with the district court’s security personnel and law enforcement agencies in and around Grand Rapids to ensure that anyone participating in that proceeding is safe.”

Meanwhile, Robeson, who was fired by the FBI in October 2020, was in the federal courtroom in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, and told a judge he plans to plead the Fifth if ordered to testify.

According to prosecutors, Robeson helped the Whitmer kidnap plotters in many ways, including tipping one off when he was about to be arrested, throwing one of the suspect’s guns in the lake, ordering the destruction of video footage of the surveillance of the governor’s house, and getting rid of a car that was used to case Whitmer’s cottage.

Robeson, through his lawyer, said that he is pleading the Fifth not because he admits to any wrongdoing, but to protect himself from self-incrimination by saying things that could be used against him.

The defense argues he should be ordered to testify, maintaining Robeson is the link between the defendants and what they say was a fake plot to kidnap the governor, manufactured by the FBI.  

Contact Tresa Baldas: tbaldas@freepress.com