A federal jury on Tuesday convicted two men charged in connection with a conspiracy to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.
Adam Fox, of Wyoming, Michigan, and Barry Croft Jr., of Bear, Delaware, were found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap the governor and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against persons or property. Croft was additionally convicted of knowingly possessing an unregistered destructive device, specifically an improvised explosive wrapped in pennies for shrapnel.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Fox and Croft intended to kidnap Governor Whitmer from her vacation cottage near Elk Rapids, Michigan and use the destructive devices to facilitate their plot by harming and hindering the governor’s security detail and any responding law enforcement officers.
“Today’s verdict confirms this plot was very real and very dangerous,” said former U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge for the Western District of Michigan, appointed to oversee the trial. “These men posed a threat not only to the Governor personally but also to bystanders. No elected leader should have to contend with what Governor Whitmer faced here. She deserves to live in safety, not in fear, just like everyone else in our State. All of our elected leaders deserve that, and the Justice Department will not tolerate violent extremist plots of this nature seeking to undermine our democracy”
“These defendants believed their anti-government views justified violence,” said Special Agent in Charge James A. Tarasca of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “Today’s verdict sends a clear message that they were wrong in their assessment. Violence is never the answer. The FBI will continue to investigate anyone who seeks to engage in violence in furtherance of any ideological cause and hold them accountable.”
Co-conspirator Ty Garbin was sentenced to six years in prison in August 2021 after pleading guilty to the original indictment charging him with conspiracy to kidnap Governor Whitmer. Co-defendant Kaleb James Franks also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to kidnap charge in February 2022 and is awaiting sentencing. Co-defendants Daniel Joseph Harris and Brandon Michael-Ray Caserta were acquitted of charges at trial earlier this year.
The kidnapping conspiracy and the conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction are punishable by up to life in prison. Possession of an unregistered destructive device and the possession of an unregistered short barrel rifle are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The presiding judge, Judge Robert Jonker, will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s Detroit Field Office investigated the case with valuable assistance provided by the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, including Michigan State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nils Kessler and Chris O’Connor conducted this retrial with valuable assistance provided by Trial Attorneys Justin Sher and Taryn Meeks of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.