The jury finally reached a verdict Friday in the federal trial of four Michigan militia members charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in 2020.
Two of the defendants were acquitted on all charges while a hung jury and mistrial were declared for the other two, RedState reported.
That outcome was the result of defense attorneys successfully convincing the jury, or at least raising reasonable doubts, that the entire alleged plot had been hatched, organized, and spurred on by FBI agents and informants and would never have otherwise occurred had it not been for the subversive federal intervention.
FBI created, encouraged, and organized the plot
According to the Detroit Free Press, defendants Daniel Harris, 24, and Brandon Caserta, 33, were both found not guilty on all charges and were ordered released immediately as free men by federal District Judge Robert Jonker.
The jury remained deadlocked concerning the charges against the supposed ringleaders of the group — Adam Fox, 39, and Barry Croft, 46 — after several rounds of deliberations, so the judge ultimately declared a mistrial for the pair, who remain in custody and could face a second prosecution.
The attorney for Caserta, Michael Hills, called the FBI’s actions of entrapment in the case “unconscionable” and specifically highlighted one FBI agent in particular who, while investigating the alleged kidnapping plot, launched his own private cybersecurity company.
“A rogue FBI agent trying to line his own pockets with his own cybersecurity company, pushing a conspiracy that just never was, never was going to be,” Hills told reporters. “Our governor was never in any danger. And I think the jury — they didn’t get all of it — but they smelled enough of it.”
The Free Press noted that U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge, the lead federal prosecutor, confirmed that Fox and Croft will be retried and said, “Obviously, we’re disappointed with the outcome. We thought we had enough for the jury to convict based on the evidence we put forward, but we still believe in the jury system,” and added, “We have two defendants that are awaiting trial and will get back to work on that.”
No lessons learned
The Detroit News reported that the jury had deliberated for five days before reaching the verdicts following a nearly three-week trial in which defense attorneys exposed how FBI agents and informants had been the driving force behind the alleged kidnapping plot that was ostensibly hatched as a reaction to Gov. Whitmer’s excessively harsh and arbitrary COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Unfortunately, as evidenced by a statement from Whitmer’s chief of staff, JoAnne Huls, it appears that the governor didn’t pay any attention to the evidence and arguments raised by the defense as she remained convinced that she had truly and seriously been targeted in an actual plot that nearly came to fruition.
“Today, Michiganders and Americans — especially our children — are living through the normalization of political violence. 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,” Huls said. “There must be accountability and consequences for those who commit heinous crimes. Without accountability, extremists will be emboldened.”
Except, for those who have paid attention to this case, it was the FBI agents and informants themselves who were most guilty of using “violent, divisive rhetoric,” planning and encouraging “heinous crimes,” and being unaccountable “extremists” themselves, but, hopefully, these verdicts will chasten the FBI instead of emboldening them to continue trying to entrap political opponents.