Ringleader in Michigan governor kidnapping plot sentenced to 16 years

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(Reuters) – The ringleader of a failed plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer by members of a right-wing militia group was sentenced to 16 years in prison in a U.S. district court on Tuesday, prosecutors said. Stated.

Adam Fox was found in August by a federal court jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on charges of conspiring to kidnap Democrat Whitmer and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in a scheme intended to prosecute the case. Convicted of a crime. “Second American Revolution”.

Co-defendant Barry Croft Jr., a member of the Three Percentile Militia Group like Fox, was convicted of the same charges in the same trial and had a sentencing scheduled for Wednesday.

Prosecutors described Fox as the mastermind behind the plan to break into Whitmer’s villa, kidnap her at gunpoint, and have her “trialed” for false treason and face execution.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jonker didn’t think the life sentence prosecutors had asked for was appropriate, but said the crime required a “grave sentence,” The Detroit News reported. .

Prosecutors say the conspiracy, sparked by groups’ opposition to Whitmer’s imposed public health measures early in the COVID-19 pandemic, could plunge the country into armed conflict as the controversial presidential election approaches in November 2020. He said it was meant to catch him.

The weapon of mass destruction involved was a bomb that prosecutors said the co-conspirators had planned to detonate to disrupt law enforcement’s response to the kidnapping.

Whitmer, co-chair of Joe Biden’s White House campaign that year, had openly clashed with then-President Donald Trump over her COVID-19 policies.

She accused his criticism of Whitmer for fostering political extremism by repeatedly directing fiery rhetoric on the issue, including at a campaign rally in Michigan that garnered “lock her up” chants from crowds. accused Trump.

Fox and Croft were among 13 men arrested in October 2020 in conspiracy to kidnap.

Two others, who were tried in federal court, were acquitted in April 2022. The same jurors were unable to reach a verdict on Fox and Croft, resulting in their trial failing.

Two other men who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap testified for indictment at the first federal trial and at Fox and Croft’s retrial about four months later.

Two witnesses who cooperated, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, were sentenced to two-and-a-half and four years in prison, respectively.

With members of the Wolverine Watchmen militia sentenced to minimum 10, 12 and 7 years in prison last month respectively, the other three men will be tried together in state court and will be convicted in October 2022. He was found guilty of playing a supporting role.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Kanishka Singh in Washington.Editing by Jerry Doyle and Alistair Bell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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