Adam Fox Sentenced in Plot to Kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer: On Wednesday, a federal judge in Michigan sentenced a man found guilty of planning to abduct Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to almost 20 years in prison. According to prosecutors, Barry Croft Jr. participated in a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor from her vacation home in 2020 and practiced detonating explosives beforehand.
The final defendant in federal court to receive a punishment concerning the scheme was Croft, who received the longest sentence of those found guilty: 235 months in federal prison. Croft was urged to get a life term in jail by the prosecution. Judge Robert Jonker explained his sentencing decision by saying, “I’m not ready to ever give up on anyone.
Because of this, I believe that life sentences are exceptionally uncommon. You’re not giving folks a chance to rejoin the fold, by definition, he continued. However, Jonker also concurred with the prosecution that Croft served as a leader for other participants in the scheme and took this into account when imposing the punishment.
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Croft, a citizen of Delaware, had flown to Michigan to collaborate with the militia there on the planning and surveillance of Whitmer’s summer residence in the summer of 2020. As part of the kidnapping scheme, Croft contemplated deploying his grenade launcher and a mounted machine gun to hinder law police response to the location, the jury was told during the trial. Additionally, the trial’s evidence established that Croft practiced detonating a shrapnel-filled explosive with human paper silhouettes during a training exercise.
I don’t doubt that the architect of the failed plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer deserves his 19 year prison sentence. But it just seems strange that the architect of the nearly successful plot to overthrow our Constitution has yet to be indicted. https://t.co/QkfyWT9U3c
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) December 28, 2022
An “evidence rabbit hole.”
Joshua Blanchard, Croft’s attorney, had asked the court on Wednesday to impose a sentence that was “adequate but not longer than it needs to be.” In a long court argument, Blanchard urged the judge to consider Croft’s history of drug usage, his family’s medical history, and his heavy pot use.
He added that Croft was found in the courtroom having fallen through a “conspiracy rabbit hole” during solo journeys as a long-haul truck driver before his arrest and put much of Croft’s behavior in 2020 on alcohol.
According to Blanchard, Croft should serve an appropriate prison sentence but not a life sentence, who agreed that his client is “a bit more receptive to fringe beliefs.” Croft chose not to speak in his defense at the sentencing hearing, citing counsel. But on Wednesday, the prosecutor countered the defense’s claims, telling the jury, “This man is radicalized.”
He hasn’t altered his opinion, according to prosecutor Nils Kessler. In his argument, Kessler said Croft was the group’s “spiritual leader,” “placing himself in the role of prophet.” He continued by arguing that by telling the other participants they would be the “new founding fathers,” Croft had inspired them.
People did, according to Kessler. Law enforcement has long been aware of Croft’s radical anti-government sentiments. Prosecutors also cited Croft’s jail call with a friend earlier this month, during which he expressed his passion for a violent, lawless society in their sentencing letter.
A leader of the conspiracy alongside Croft, Adam Fox, was given a 16-year prison term by Jonker on Tuesday. “There is a need for targeted deterrents and public awareness of the costs associated with this misbehavior. The emotional baggage that our governor will now have to carry, which she has discussed in her report, affects our entire governmental system, as well, Jonker remarked in court before handing down Fox’s prison term.
According to the Michigan attorney general’s office, three additional men, Pete Musico, Joseph Morrison, and Paul Bellar, were also sentenced earlier this month in state court on charges of gang participation, support of a terrorist act, and carrying or possessing a firearm while committing a felony.
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Music and Bellar must serve at least 12 and 7 years, respectively. Morrison, the alleged “commander” of the organization, must serve at least 11 years in prison. Affidavits submitted to the attorney general’s office claim that Morrison used the online alias “Boogaloo Bunyan.”