Michigan

Militia member in Michigan governor’s kidnapping plot sentenced to over 19 years in prison

By Kanishka Singh

-A right-wing militia member convicted of the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison in a U.S. District Court on Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Barry Croft Jr., 47, a member of the far-right Three Percenters militia, was convicted in August by a jury in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, of conspiring to kidnap the Democratic governor.

Adam Fox, 39, who was also a member of the Three Percenters and was convicted of the same charges at the same trial, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Tuesday. The judge also imposed five years of probation beyond that sentence for Fox.

Croft and Fox were among 13 men arrested in October 2020 in connection with the kidnapping plot. Prosecutors had accused the pair of conspiring to start “a second American revolution” by kidnapping Whitmer.

Fox and Croft had conspired to break into Whitmer’s vacation home, kidnap her at gunpoint and bring her to “trial” on trumped-up treason charges and be executed, the authorities said. prosecutors.

Both men were also convicted of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction – an explosive device that prosecutors say was intended to hinder law enforcement’s response to the planned kidnapping. Croft was found guilty of an additional charge of possession of an explosive device.

Prosecutors said the plot, precipitated by opposition from right-wing militias to public health measures imposed by Whitmer at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, was intended to push the country into armed conflict as a controversial presidential race in November 2020. .

The weapon of mass destruction involved was a bomb that prosecutors said the conspirators planned to detonate to hamper law enforcement’s response to the kidnapping.

Whitmer, co-chairman of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign that year, had clashed publicly with then-President Donald Trump over his COVID-19 policies.

She accused Trump of fomenting political extremism by repeatedly directing impassioned rhetoric on the issue, including a campaign rally in Michigan where his criticism of Whitmer drew chants of “Lock her up” from the crowd.

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