Two Men Guilty of Conspiring to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The two men who conspired to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 have been found guilty. A jury convicted the two men, Adam Fox and Barry Croft, of conspiring to kidnap the Governor of Michigan in a plot that prosecutors described as a rallying cry for a civil war in America by anti-government extremists. 

This trial marked the second trial for Fox and Croft Jr after a jury in April could not reach a unanimous verdict. The verdict is a victory for the government, which held a mixed outcome in verdicts held last spring. 

These two men were reportedly originally not alone in the plot. Two other men were acquitted and two more pleaded guilty and testified for prosecutors.

The jury this week also found Fox and Croft guilty of conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction, mainly a bomb, in order to blow up a bridge and therefore stymie police if the kidnapping could be pulled off at the governor’s vacation home. 

“You can’t just strap on an AR-15 and body armor and go snatch the governor,” assistant US attorney Nils Kessler told jurors.

“But that wasn’t the defendants’ ultimate goal,” Kessler said. “They wanted to set off a second American civil war, a second American Revolution, something that they call the boogaloo. And they wanted to do it for a long time before they settled on Governor Whitmer.”

The investigation into the kidnapping attempt began when an army veteran, Dan Chappel, joined a paramilitary group in Michigan and then began alarmed when he heard them speak about killing police. 

He then agreed to become an informant to the F.B.I. and spent the summer of 2020 getting close to the primary characters of the attacks,  including Fox. He recorded conversations in secret, and participated in drills that the group conducted at “shoot houses.” 

It became a massive domestic terrorism case when two more informants and two more undercover agents became embedded in the group. 

Whitmer blamed then-president Donald Trump for stoking mistrust and fomenting anger over coronavirus restrictions and refusing to condemn hate groups and right-wing extremists like those charged in the plot.

Over the weekend, she said she hadn’t been following the second trial but remains concerned about “violent rhetoric in this country”. Trump recently called the kidnapping plan a “fake deal”.

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