Judge to decide if FBI informant will testify in Whitmer kidnapping trial

gavel, justice
Posted at 1:26 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 13:26:44-04

(WXYZ) — Grand Rapids Federal Judge Robert Jonker will have to decide if a key witness testifies in the trial over the plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Defense attorneys want to call Steve Robeson of Wisconsin, who goes to the heart of their defense that the four men on trial were egged on by government informants who infiltrated their group.

Related: Whitmer Kidnapping trial: Defense wants 'snitch' feds kicked off case to testify

The feds in their response filed Friday describe Robeson as an undercover informant working on the case in 2020 who went off the rails, and was supposed to be working only for them but was assisting the conspirators. They say he told one that he was wanted by the FBI, tossed a gun into a lake and destroyed other evidence.

Related: Man who pleaded guilty in Whitmer kidnapping plot testified he was hoping to be killed

The US Attorney in Grand Rapids is asking the judge to hold a hearing and question Robeson about his testimony without the jury present

Defense attorneys argued in their brief that Robeson was paid to work undercover by the feds and used secret recording equipment to build their case and set up meetings for training in the plot.

The feds say Robeson is likely to take plead the Fifth Amendment on the witness stand to avoid being charged with new crimes and should not be compelled to testify.