GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The long-anticipated trial in the plot to kidnap and kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer starts on Tuesday with jury selection in federal district court in Grand Rapids.
Four men, two from metro Detroit, will face a jury. Two other men took plea deals and are expected to testify for the government. They are also from metro Detroit.
A jury of 12 will be seated with four alternates. Jury selection could take several days. The trial could go a month or more.
The list of proposed exhibits for the government runs 10 pages. They include undercover video and audio recordings and Facebook recordings the defendants made of themselves before they were arrested in October of 2020. The jury will hear from the men even if they don’t take the stand in their own defense.
Defense strategies could include that it was big talk and no real plot, or that the men were entrapped by federal authorities.
Witnesses include confidential informants and undercover FBI agents. The evidence is the men were angry at Whitmer over her COVID-19 stay-home orders and other restrictions.
Chief Federal District Judge Robert Jonker will preside over the trial.
The men on trial are:
- Brandon Caserta of Canton Township
- Daniel Harris of Lake Orion
- Adam Fox of Wyoming
- Barry Croft of Bear, Delaware
They are facing up to life in prison if convicted.
The two who pleaded guilty are:
- Kaleb Franks of Waterford. He has not been sentenced.
- Ty Garbin of Hartland who has been sentenced to six years in prison.