The first trial for the alleged ringleaders of a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer with the hopes of sparking a civil war ended in a mistrial. The government has now recovered from that embarrassment, securing a conviction on Tuesday from a jury on retrial in the case of Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr.
The two men were convicted of conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to obtain a weapon of mass destruction, a bomb, that they hoped to use to blow up a bridge leading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s summer home. Croft was found guilty of an additional weapons charge.
The plot was terrifying: to kidnap the governor at her lakeside residence, and then destroy a bridge to impede the first responders who would be coming to rescue Whitmer. The men and their co-conspriators hoped to spark a broader wave of violence. “They wanted to set off a second American civil war,” prosecutors told the jury, “a second American Revolution, something that they call the boogaloo.”
The men — repeating their defense from the first trial in April where a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict — claimed to be little more than loose-talking potheads, and LARPers (live-action roll players) who were entrapped by out-of-control undercover FBI agents. That defense, grounded in mistrust of the federal government, failed to convince any holdout jurors in this second trial, held in Grand Rapids.
Whitmer, who is emerging as one of the Democratic Party’s national stars, is seeking reelection in November. At the time the plot was first uncovered she blasted Donald Trump as “complicit” in creating an environment where such political extremism could thrive.
For his part, Trump has consistently downplayed the violent plot, recently asserting to the crowd at CPAC that “the sting they did involving Gretchen Whitmer was fake…. It was a fake deal.” Trump added: “Gretchen Whitmer was in less danger than the people sitting in this room right now.”