According to authorities, the mastermind of a botched attempt by members of right-wing militia organizations to abduct Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer received a 16-year jail term on Tuesday.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer sits in a 2019 Chevrolet Traverse, assembled in Lansing, Michigan, at the General Motors display area during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
A federal court jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan found 39-year-old Adam Fox guilty in August on one count each of conspiring to kidnap Democrat Gretchen Whitmer and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in a plot, according to the prosecution, to start a “second American Revolution.”
Barry Croft Jr., a co-defendant who, like Fox, is a Three Percenters militia member, was found guilty of the same crimes at the same trial and was due to be sentenced on Wednesday.
The ringleader of the kidnapping group, Fox. The photo was provided by the county. Photo: AP.com
Fox was allegedly the brains behind a conspiracy to steal into Whitmer’s vacation house, abduct her under duress, and take her to stand “trial” on false treason charges before being executed, according to the prosecution. According to the Detroit News, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jonker stated that he did not believe a life sentence, as requested by the prosecution, was appropriate but that the offences called for a “substantial punishment.” The article also stated that Fox declined to speak at the sentencing and showed no emotion toward the penalty. Fox’s lawyer claimed that the prosecution misrepresented his involvement. The lawyer stated that the group would never have been able to really abduct the governor since Fox and Croft never employed explosives.
Authorities said the plot, which was sparked by the group’s hostility to public health measures Whitmer implemented during the early stages of the COVID-19 epidemic, was an attempt to provoke war as a divisive presidential election in November 2020 loomed.
The conspirators allegedly planned to blow up a bomb as a weapon of mass destruction to obstruct law enforcement’s response to the kidnapping.
Whitmer had a public argument with then-President Donald Trump on her COVID-19 policy and served as co-chair of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign that year.
By regularly using vehement language on the subject, particularly during a campaign rally in Michigan when his criticism of Whitmer prompted cries of “Lock her up,” she accused Trump of inciting political extremism.
13 men were detained in October 2020 in connection with the kidnapping plot, including Fox and Croft.
In April 2022, a jury in federal court found two more defendants not guilty. A mistrial was declared for Fox and Croft because the same jury was unable to render a decision in both cases.
At the initial federal trial and roughly four months later during Fox and Croft’s retrial, two other individuals who had already pled guilty to counts of abduction conspiracy testified for the prosecution.
Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, the two cooperating witnesses, received sentences of 2 1/2 years and 4 years in jail, respectively.
Three further males who were jointly prosecuted in state court and found guilty in October 2022 of participating in the scheme as Wolverine Watchmen militia members were recently given minimum jail terms of 10, 12, and 7 years, respectively.