A jury refused on Friday to convict any of the four men standing trial for supposedly plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after strong evidence that the FBI tricked them into the plan.
After 20 days of trial, jurors determined that Daniel Harris, 24, and Brandon Caserta, 33, were not guilty of felony charges of conspiracy to “unlawfully seize, confine, kidnap, abduct and carry away, and hold for ransom and reward, or otherwise, the Governor of the State of Michigan.”
Jurors could not agree on the fates of Adam Fox, 38, and Barry Croft Jr., 46, so the men left the trial with no verdict and with the possibility of being brought to trial again.
Prosecutors representing the U.S. Department of Justice argued that the group of men were anti-government extremists who schemed to violently take down Whitmer for her role in promoting Covid-19 tyranny in Michigan. They exchanged lighter prison sentences for testimony from two other men found guilty of participating in the Whitmer kidnapping racket, helping absolve the government of any blame in the case.
When news of the alleged plot surfaced, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and corporate media smeared the men accused of wrongdoing as “white supremacists.” Some journos blamed the plot on President Donald Trump even though some of the men involved were openly anti-Trump.
“If the president read his intel briefings and understood the dogma of white nationalist groups, he’d realize that language like ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’ is read as tacit permission — if not explicit encouragement — for militias to take action,” Politico’s chief political correspondent Tim Alberta wrote.
Defense attorneys, however, countered the government and media’s attempts to pin the plot on Harris, Caserta, and others with evidence that the FBI deliberately hatched the plot and manipulated the men into joining the motley crew led by government informants.
District Court Judge Robert Jonker tried to stop the defense from raising issues of entrapment until after the government argued its case but rescinded his decision after it became clear that the FBI’s involvement in the ploy could explain the defendants’ participation.
As Julie Kelly, a senior writer at American Greatness, documented in her work exposing the FBI’s corruption, “more than a dozen FBI undercover agents and informants were involved in the kidnapping caper” and even paid tens of thousands of dollars by the government for their role.
These agents and informants “served in the key leadership positions of the militia group, trained the militia members in military tactics, actively recruited participants, and funded much of the militia’s activities.”
The FBI’s plot to entrap the men draws strong parallels to the intelligence agency’s attempts to charge and convict a group for occupying federal land in Oregon. Brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy were ultimately found not guilty of conspiracy and weapons charges in 2016 when evidence that the government used at least a dozen confidential informants to exacerbate the occupation.