GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. are asking a federal judge to dismiss charges that they conspired to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to documents filed by their attorneys.
The motion, filed less than three weeks after a jury failed to reach a verdict, asks Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to issue a judgment of acquittal on all charges against the men.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has not responded to the motions.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge has said he plans to try Fox and Croft again. The feds have identified Fox and Croft as leaders of the alleged plot.
On April 8, following a weekslong trial, the jury deadlocked on the cases against Fox and Croft, while finding co-defendants Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta not guilty.
“In sum, the government failed to prove any charges alleged in the superseding indictment to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt,” Fox’s attorney, Christopher Gibbons, wrote in the motion.
“Defendant Adam Fox requests the Court to enter an order acquitting him on both Count 1 and Count 2 (conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction), as the Government’s evidence on both these counts specifically failed to establish that Adam Fox engaged in a conspiracy with any of the other defendants in the superseding indictment or any other person other than, arguably, a government informant or agent,” Gibbons wrote.
The attorneys argued that the FBI, working with informants, entrapped their clients.
“Government agents may not originate a criminal design,” Gibbons wrote. “Yet that is precisely what occurred here. In this case, the Government produced evidence that Adam Fox was prone to speaking offensively, making objectively anti-government statements, and juvenile remarks casually advocating violence.”
“The Government produced hundreds of Facebook posts, inflammatory memes, political rants, flags, Hawaiian shirts, legal weapons, legal ammunition, legal body armor, legal helmets, and books with ‘suspect titles,'” Gibbons wrote. “All of this ‘evidence’ was intended to create the inference that Adam Fox was engaged in a sophisticated, paramilitary exercise designed to kidnap the Governor. The Government did not
provide any evidence that Fox was even communicating with any of the other Defendants to agree,
plan, or otherwise pursue the kidnapping of the Governor.”
In his motion, Croft’s attorney, Joshua Blanchard, said there was “insufficient evidence” against Croft.
“To the contrary, the evidence shows that Mr. Croft had minimal contact with these people and never agreed to commit a crime with them,” he wrote.
“While government presented mountains of ‘predisposition’ evidence, short snippets of out-of-context audio, and so-called ‘reenactments’ of things that never occurred, there was simply insufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Croft ever agreed with anyone to kidnap Governor Whitmer.”
The feds said the men started the conspiracy in June 2020 at a meeting of militia members in Ohio. Their plan, the feds said, eventually evolved to kidnapping the governor from her cottage in Elk Rapids, blowing up a bridge or two to slow down police, then taking her in a boat, either to strand her in Lake Michigan or to Wisconsin to face trial and execution.
They were angry, the feds said, over Whitmer’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and hoped to ignite a second Civil War.