A man accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was “anti-government” and believed officials wanted to “stuff their own pockets,” his longtime companion said Wednesday before prosecutors closed their case.
Congratulations Knight spoke to jurors on the 13th day of the trial in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was asked about Barry Croft Jr.’s tattoos, including a three-star one – popular with extremists – and his attitude toward the government.
“He was anti-government,” said Knight of Bear, Delaware. “He just thought the government wasn’t for him. The government does not help the people. They like to fill their own pockets. “
The jury heard key evidence from undercover FBI agents and an informant who had been in the group for months and made secret recordings. Two men who pleaded guilty provided critical testimony last week, including a desire for national chaos if Whitmer, a Democrat, could be abducted from his vacation home before the 2020 election.
Croft, Adam Fox, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta have been charged with kidnapping conspiracy. Fox, Croft and Harris face additional charges related to explosives.
Knight, 40, burst into tears when she identified one of Croft’s daughters as the man who offered him snacks during a weapons training in Luther, Michigan.
“Honey, I’m making explosives. Can you get away from me, please? … I love you. Get out of here, “Croft said in a note.
Defense attorneys demanded a direct acquittal, a standard step in criminal proceedings, arguing that there was not enough evidence to hand over the case to a jury. But U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker quickly dismissed him, noting in particular the detailed testimony of two star witnesses who pleaded guilty, Ty Garbin and Caleb Franks.
The defense failed: at least five people said they would assert their right to remain silent if summoned to the witness chair. They include informant Steve Robson, who changed the country during the investigation and told Croft that the FBI wanted to arrest him, according to the government.
Others who invoked the Fifth Amendment participated in training as well as conspiracy discussions, but were not charged.
The judge urged lawyers to indicate soon whether Fox, Croft, Harris or Caserta would testify. Lawyers say the group was involved in many crazy stories fueled by agents, informants and marijuana, but not a conspiracy.
The men were arrested in October 2020 as they approached to receive an explosive device that could blow up a bridge and prevent police from responding to a kidnapping at Whitmer’s second home, according to witnesses.
Garbin said the men acted willingly and hoped to strike before the election. He said they wanted to stop Joe Biden from winning the presidency.
The group was outraged by the restrictions on COVID-19 and disgusted by the government, recordings and social media posts.
Whitmer rarely speaks publicly about the kidnapping plot, although she mentioned “surprises” during her term that seem like “something made up” when she applied for re-election on March 17.
She accused former President Donald Trump of inciting anger over the restrictions on the coronavirus and refused to condemn right-wing extremists such as those accused in the case. Whitmer said Trump was complicit in the Capitol uprising on January 6.
Find a full AP coverage of the Whitmer kidnapping plot at: https://apnews.com/hub/whitmer-kidnap-plot-trial
White reported from Detroit.
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Prosecutors are suspending their case in the kidnapping process of Governor Whitmer
Source link Prosecutors are suspending their case in the kidnapping process of Governor Whitmer