GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Two very different pictures were painted in the opening statements in the trial of 4 men charged with plotting to kidnap and kill the Governor over her 2020 COVID lockdowns.
Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Roth told the jury in federal court in Grand Rapids that the evidence will show the plot included breaking into the Governor’s house, hogtying her, and kidnapping her at gunpoint. And law enforcement moved in when they were trying to buy a bomb from an undercover FBI agent.
Roth told the jury two men who pleaded guilty in the case will testify for the prosecution about their actions and they will “go to prison for it.”
The 4 men on trial are Adam Fox Barry Croft, Daniel Harris of Lake Orion, and Brandon Caserta of Canton Township. All face life in prison if convicted.
Roth told the jury Croft was a “national figure in the Boogaloo movement” and they believed the country is broken with politicians on both sides at fault. Roth said Croft shaved much of his long beard for court to look like a “middle school math teacher.”
Roth told the jury Fox said he was “anointed by God” and that he wanted the Governor for a hostage, that Caserta talked about “crushing her skull” and Harris did not want to kidnap her. Rather, “just murder her.”
On the other side of the case, Chris Gibbons defense attorney for Fox said his client “did not agree to kidnap the Governor” that the jury would “hear a lot of talk” that Fox was a “misfit” who lived in the basement of a vacuum shop.
Defense attorneys focused on an undercover informant known as Dan or Big Dan who contacted the FBI about the plot and continued to work as the backbone “upon which everything hangs in this case” that Dan was paid with “envelopes of cash.”
Defense attorney Josh Blanchard for Croft told the jury, “It is not criminal to dislike our government. The FBI is supposed to protect us from dangerous criminals and terrorists. They're also an agency that's supposed to protect our freedoms. And when they're doing that, they're expected to have thick skin. That means in protecting our rights, they don't punish people for saying mean things about them.”
In rebuttal, Prosecutor Roth said, “There’s no evidence of entrapment at all. They chose this plan. They chose this crime because they wanted it. These defendants were willing and eager, if not already preparing to do this crime. Long before law enforcement got involved.”
Roth also said some members of the Wolverine Watchmen militia that was the basis for the plot left it, “Because of how extreme the defendants were.”
The trial could take a month.