• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

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Jury deliberations enter 3rd day in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot

Jurors are returning to court for a third day of deliberations in a trial that centers on a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Jury deliberations are entering a third day in a trial that centers on a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

No verdict was reached Tuesday, hours after U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker turned down the jury’s request for trial transcripts.

Transcripts aren’t available yet. But even if they were, the judge said, jurors shouldn’t have them and instead must rely on their memory.

Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta are charged with a kidnapping conspiracy. Three of them also face additional charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, namely an explosive.

The trial has covered 17 days since March 8, including 13 days of testimony.

Prosecutors said the conspiracy against Whitmer was fueled by anti-government extremism and anger over her COVID-19 restrictions. The men trained with a crudely built “shoot house” to replicate her vacation home in September 2020, according to testimony.

Fox and Croft, traveled to Elk Rapids, Michigan, that same weekend to see the location of the governor’s lakeside property and a nearby bridge, evidence showed. Harris and Caserta have been described as “soldiers” in the scheme.

Defense lawyers attacked the government’s investigation and the use of a crucial informant, Dan Chappel. They claimed Chappel was the real leader, taking direction from the FBI and keeping the group on edge while recording them for months.

Croft is from Bear, Delaware, while the others are from Michigan.

Whitmer, a Democrat, rarely talks publicly about the plot, though she referred to “surprises” during her term that seemed like “something out of fiction” when she filed for reelection on March 17.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the Whitmer kidnap plot trial at: https://apnews.com/hub/whitmer-kidnap-plot-trial

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White reported from Detroit.