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Jury Hears Recordings of Plan to Abduct Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer

Jury Hears Recordings of Plan to Abduct Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer

Jurors heard the audio recordings on Thursday of the four men charged with plotting to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, during which one of the men specifically discusses a plan to abduct the Democratic Governor of Michigan because they were angry about the statewide pandemic restrictions she had imposed.

Prosecutors played covertly recorded audio for jurors where Barry Croft, Jr., and his co-defendants Adam Fox, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta could be heard plotting to abduct Whitmer from her Michigan vacation home They also planned to blow up a nearby bridge to slow the police response. The audio played in the federal courtroom in Grand Rapids, Michigan, marked the first time the jury heard a defendant talking specifically about abducting Whitmer. In other recordings played, Croft and Fox mentioned Whitmer and spoke excitedly about taking action that would “terrorize” people.

In the recording, made by a government informant during a meeting in mid-July 2020 in Wisconsin, Croft describes the possibility of using explosives to “rain down” fire on law enforcement “with a team standing by” to abduct Whitmer. In another recording made by the same informant, jurors heard the sound of an explosives test Croft was conducting. He’s later heard speaking almost giddily about the damage he could cause, saying it would be “devastating.” Croft is also heard saying, without providing details, that it should be “a quick precise grab” of the Governor.

 

“I’m gonna hit soon,” Croft is heard saying during what prosecutors say was a crucial June 6, 2020, meeting of anti-government activists in Ohio. “ I’m going to terrorize people. The right people. The people who have been terrorizing my people.” A little later, Fox also is heard on audio recorded by an FBI informant, tossing out ideas and telling the group: “You need to take hostages. There’s your value.”

Fox also claimed the FBI set him up in a fake plot to kidnap the governor, though the feds say he set himself up in a Facebook rant, long before they met him. FBI agent Todd Reineck testified earlier Thursday that the men were arrested in fall 2020 because there was a “real concern they might obtain real-live explosives.” He also testified about social media posts and messages by the men, including some made months before any contact from FBI agents or informants.

 

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