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Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. Convicted for Conspiracy to Kidnap Michigan Governor in 2020

Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. conspired to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in October 2020, convincing other members of their Michigan paramilitary militia group, the Wolverine Watchman, to join them. 

 

Those men include:  Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta. 

 

The group planned to kidnap Whitmer to either abandon her on a boat in Lake Michigan or put her to trial in as a “tyrant” in Wisconsin. In order to avoid police, they planned on destroying the bridge leading to the lake. 

 

One undercover FBI agent told Fox that the explosives would cost $4000,  so he immediately went out and bought them. Fox, Croft, and Harris practiced detonating IED containing shrapnel near human silhouette targets to test its effectiveness

 

The plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer was described as a rallying cry for a national rebellion.

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Evidence against the group was gathered by undercover FBI agents, including U.S. Army veteran, Dan Chappel, who had joined the group but became concerned about their willingness to harm  police officers. He informed a friend and a local officer from an unidentified police department in Michigan, who then relayed the concerns to the FBI and was subsequently recruited as an undercover witness. Chappel spent the summer of 2020 getting to know Fox and others, participating in firearm drills, and making trips with Fox and Croft to see Whitmer’s vacation property. 

 

Two other FBI informants and two undercover agents were also involved in the investigation. 

WOULD-BE KIDNAPPERS CONVICTED

All of the members involved were arrested on the night of October 7, 2020, and charges were filed against them the next day. 

 

Fox and Croft were first tried in April, when a jury acquitted two other men involved, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, of all charges in the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer. The jury was unable to reach verdicts for both Fox and Croft, leading to their second trial in August. 

 

After two days of deliberations by the jury, Croft and Fox were convicted of two counts of conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer and attempts to use a weapon of mass destruction. Croft was also convicted of an explosives charge. 

 

Both men have yet to be sentenced. Fox is expected to appear in court for sentencing on December 12 and Croft on December 28. They both face up to life in prison for their plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer. 

 

The FBI was heavily involved in this case, treating it as a major domestic terrorism case. 

 

David Porter, head of the FBI in western Michigan, praised the ultimate verdicts. “Here in America, if you disagree with your government you have options,” he said outside the courthouse after the trial. “What you cannot do is plan or commit acts of violence.”

 

Barbara McQuade, the former top federal prosecutor in Detroit, said, “I’m hopeful that this verdict will cause people to think twice before they engage in this kind of domestic terrorism,” calling the jury’s decision “an important victory for the rule of law, for democracy and also for those who care about law enforcement.”