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Jury partially deadlocked on charges in Michigan governor kidnap plot


(DETROIT) — The jury deciding the fates of four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday they had reached a verdict on some of the criminal charges but deadlocked on others.

Judge Robert Jonker announced that he received a note from the jury about the update in their deliberations Friday, a week after closing arguments ended, according to ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV. The exact details of their decisions weren’t immediately revealed.

The judge brought the jury in and urged them to continue deliberating and “keep an open mind,” according to WXYZ. Jonker told the attorneys he had already ordered them lunch and will get an update in the afternoon, WXYZ reported.

Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were all arrested in October 2020 following an FBI sting operation against a militia group of which they were alleged members, and had openly protested Whitmer’s COVID-19 policies. All four were charged with kidnapping conspiracy. Fox, Croft and Harris were also charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Two other suspects who were allegedly part of the conspiracy, Kaleb Franks and Ty Garbin, were also arrested and later pleaded guilty to weapons and conspiracy charges.

Federal prosecutors allege the group had meticulously planned to kidnap the governor and hold her hostage along with others at the state Capitol in Lansing. Investigators said the men allegedly acquired weapons, ammunition and materials for explosives and conducted surveillance of the governor’s home.

“The evidence proves all of them were already willing to commit the crime,” U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said during closing arguments on April 1.

Undercover FBI agents infiltrated the group and recorded conversations of their alleged plotting.

The suspects’ attorneys contended that their clients did not intend to kidnap Whitmer and they were coerced by the FBI agents.

Defense attorney Christopher Gibbons told the jury that the government’s claims that Fox was the ringleader of the operation were unfounded.

“He talks bad government talk. Talk, it’s just talk,” he said during closing arguments on March 31.

Prosecutors argued that they did not entrap any of the men accused because investigators saw the men had an alleged pattern of anti-government and hateful rhetoric, and that they were serious about carrying out the plot if they were not stopped.

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