GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Former FBI informant Stephen Robeson, who played a key role in the investigation into the alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, says the suspects were not entrapped by him or the government.
Robeson, of Oxford, Wisconsin, showed up Tuesday at U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids as jurors were being picked for the trial of four men accused in the alleged plot.
He said he was subpoenaed by the defense.
“I just talked with their investigator, and I still don’t understand why,” Robeson told Target 8 outside the courthouse.
Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta are charged with conspiracy to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, allegedly angry because of her response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two other suspects have already pleaded guilty and plan to testify against them.
Defense attorneys have said they hope Robeson’s testimony later in the trial will help prove their clients were entrapped.
But the defense investigator told Target 8 he was surprised to see Robeson so soon, as a jury wasn’t seated until around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Robeson said he was surprised the defense wants him there at all.
“I don’t have nothing against them, but I don’t know what I can do to help them,” he said. “They certainly put themselves in a position.”
Robeson, a long-time criminal, worked for a year as an informant for the FBI.
Defense attorneys accuse Robeson of working with FBI agents and other informants to induce their clients into doing something they otherwise wouldn’t have done.
He set up militia meetings, set up and helped pay for training exercises and was with the suspects when they conducted surveillance on the governor’s Elk Rapids cottage. He and another informant also secretly recorded conversations.
The FBI paid him nearly $20,000, records show.
He denied entrapping the four and said they acted on their own.
“I guess we’ll see how that pans out,” he said. “They certainly were grown up and made their own decisions on anything that happened.”
The FBI said it dismissed Robeson as an informant after accusing him of working as a double agent. They said he tried to warn others to get rid of evidence, not knowing they were also informants.
He denied acting as a double-agent and said he never broke any of the FBI’s rules as an informant.
“That’s not true, and I’m not anti-government on this. I don’t know what’s being discussed. There’s a recording for everything that’s happened, and the recordings will show themselves for what they are,” he said.
The feds charged Robeson with being a felon in possession of a weapon for illegally buying and selling a sniper rifle while he was working as an informant. It led to a guilty plea and probation.
He and his wife also are charged with fraud in Wisconsin. That case is pending.
The feds have said Robeson could face federal charges for his alleged role as a “double agent.”
The FBI arrested the four suspects in October 2020 — 17 months ago.
They were in handcuffs as they were led into court before jury selection began. A jury of a dozen jurors and six alternates was seated by around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Among the questions being posed to jurors: Their thoughts on COVID-19 and on how Gov. Gretchen Whitmer handled it.
Some prospective jurors told the judge they weren’t fans of the governor or her handling of the pandemic.
“I really don’t like Whitmer,” a long-haul trucker told the Judge Robert Jonker before being dismissed as a juror.
The judge said the trial could last four to six weeks.