A federal judge has ordered that the two men charged with allegedly attempting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) must face a new trial almost three months after a jury deadlocked on the charges and a mistrial was declared.
Attorneys for the two men argued that the charges against them be dismissed, but Judge Robert Jonker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan denied the request, according to the Detroit News.
“A rational jury, in my view, could still rule against Mr. Fox, rule against Mr. Croft,” Judge Jonker declared. “We will need to have another jury weigh the evidence.”
Adam Fox, 38, and Barry Croft, 46, were accused of participating in the alleged plot, were defended by attorneys on the grounds that the prosecution lacked sufficient proof to find them guilty of the kidnapping conspiracy and other crimes.
Two of their co-defendants, Daniel Harris, 24, and Brandon Caserta, 34, were exonerated of kidnapping charges in April, but Fox and Croft’s case was declared a mistrial because the jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict.
“Because of the preclusive effect of the acquittals of Mr. Harris and Mr. Caserta as well as the insufficient evidence presented by the government at trial, Mr. Croft requests the Court enter a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 29(c) on each count of the superseding indictment,” defense attorneys argued in court documents, Fox11 reported.
During the course of the first trial trial, lawyers for Fox and Croft argued that the pair were victims of federal entrapment and the undercover agents on the case were part of a ploy to goad them into trying to carry out the alleged scheme.
“The evidence presented at trial, even when viewed in the light most favorable to the government, did not establish that there was an agreement between Adam Fox and any of the other defendants to kidnap the governor or to purchase and use a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ in furtherance of that kidnapping,” a lawyer for Fox argued, according to the Detroit News.
The claimed conspiracy included a scheme to kidnap Whitmer as retaliation for her onerous COVID-19 regulations. According to court records, some of the accused guys monitored her vacation house and held training sessions there. In the end, a sting operation in October 2020 resulted in the arrest of the alleged conspirators.