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2 acquitted, jury hung on 2 more in alleged Whitmer kidnap plot

Defendants and Judge Robert Jonker
Carole Kabrin
For Michigan Radio

Jurors have acquitted two of four defendants of conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer but couldn't agree on a verdict for two others.

The jury found Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta not guilty on all charges.

Caserta faced one count of kidnapping conspiracy, while Harris faced four charges: one count of kidnapping conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device, and one count of possession of an unregistered short-barreled rifle.

Adam Fox and Barry Croft, Jr. were both charged with kidnapping conspiracy and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, with Croft also facing an additional charge of possession of an unregistered destructive device.

The jury issued no verdict on all counts for both Fox and Croft, leading U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to declare a mistrial.

Defense attorneys portrayed their clients as weekend warriors prone to wild talk, who were often stoned. They said FBI undercover agents and informants tricked the men into agreeing to a conspiracy.

Prosecutors entered evidence that the men discussed abducting Whitmer before the FBI sting began.

Jury deliberations started Monday, after a 14-day trial.

JoAnne Huls, Chief of Staff to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, issued a statement in response to the rulings:

“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. There must be accountability and consequences for those who commit heinous crimes. Without accountability, extremists will be emboldened."

This is a developing story.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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