Jury expected to begin deliberations in Whitmer kidnapping plot Friday

Posted at 6:12 AM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 06:12:43-04

(WXYZ) — After a week of twists and turns, the trial of the four men accused of planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is nearing the end. Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments on Friday before beginning deliberations.

On Thursday, the defense called a few witnesses to the stand, including one of the defendants – Daniel Harris of Lake Orion.

The trial begin on March 8, and since then, 34 witnesses have been called. They included undercover FBI agents and people involved in the alleged plot who pleaded guilty and cooperated with the feds.

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

Both the prosecution and defense will give their closing arguments before the jury will get instructions and then begin deliberations.

During the trial on Thursday, Harris maintained his innocence despite evidence pointing toward his involvement.

Harris painted a picture of an assuming man looking for friends and an opportunity to stay fit. The former Marine says he moved back to Lake Orion in 2019 and in 2020, he got involved with the Wolverine Watchmen, mainly to keep his combat skills sharp.

"Did you agree to kidnap the governor?" his lawyer asked.

"Absolutely not," Harris responded.

That's the only answer Harris gave during his own defense.

He testified he detonated two explosives with co-defendant Barry Croft, saying they "lit the fuse and ran."

Harris also testified he questioned the safety of the group's training, and that he told the men not to do it, saying it was an easy way to get yourself killed.

The judge interjected during a heated exchange over whether or not Harris was tasked with finding a bomb maker.

Harris was cut off and there was an objection.

The judge asked, "were you or were you not trying to find a bomb maker?"

"Yes," he said.

Harris said group member Brandon Caserta was passionate, and he referred to Kaleb Franks of Waterford and Ty Garbin of Hartland as liars. Both Franks and Waterford took plea deals and cooperated with the feds.

Star witness in the Gov. Whitmer kidnapping plot takes the stand Thursday

Defense attorneys were eager for the proceedings with an entrapment defense in play.

The jury will deliberate until 4:30 p.m. or so each business day, take the weekend off, and come back Monday if necessary. They were also asked not to talk with people about the case, including each other, until deliberations.