MICHIGAN — Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the alleged conspiracy to kidnap and kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continue to go back and forth in court filings about what evidence will be allowed into the trial, which is rapidly approaching.
The trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday, March 8 at the federal courthouse in downtown Grand Rapids. Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta are charged with multiple felonies related to the alleged plot.
While defense attorneys for the men have been building towards presenting an entrapment defense at trial, two of their co-defendants have entered into plea agreements with the government, agreeing to testify on their behalf. Prosecutor Nils Kessler has said that the men who flipped will corroborate their narrative and confirm that the men created the plot without prodding from undercover FBI agents and confidential human sources who had infiltrated their group.
With just days to go before their trial, both sides continue to file motions with the court regarding what evidence will be let into trial, and how certain witnesses will be handled.
Prosecutors filed documents this week regarding the two undercover FBI agents involved in the investigation, who the defendants knew as "Red" and "Mark." The government is asking the court to allow those agents to testify under their pseudonyms in an attempt to hide their true identities.
Prosecutors say this is because the agents are still working undercover in other investigations. They are also asking the court to bar media from sketching the agents' likenesses.
Taking any photos or video inside the courtroom during trial is prohibited.
Prosecutors also claimed that the defendants in this case could put the agents at risk if they find out their identities, writing in a motion that "their anti-government associates began efforts to identify and disclose informants on the very day they were arrested."
But attorneys for Barry Croft, one of the men charged, issued a stark rebuttal on Friday to the government's inferences that Croft and his co-defendants were looking to identify and endanger investigators.
"The government had not undertaken to show how the agents are at risk by using their real names. It still hasn’t made that showing. What it has done is voyeuristically sift through hours of Mr. Croft’s jail calls to present an incomplete and misleading picture, which warrants correction," they wrote in the filing.
The defense is also looking to obtain more information about how confidential human sources used in the investigation were paid for their cooperation.
The investigation was handled by three FBI agents: Agent Richard Trask, Agent Jayson Chambers and Agent Henrik Impola. They oversaw two undercover FBI agents and approximately 11 confidential human sources.
Defense attorneys have identified three of the confidential sources in court filings so far: "Big" Dan, Jenny, and Steve Robeson.
According to the most recent filings by defense attorneys, they have only obtained a small amount of information regarding payments made to them.
They claim that "Big" Dan was paid $4,300 for a smart watch and computer, while Steve Robeson requested $1,150 for rooming, gas, drinks and pizza.
Robeson is currently incarcerated on felony charges related to illegally selling firearms. Prosecutors have attempted to distance themselves from him and the work he did for their investigation.
Prosecutor Kessler said recently in court that Robeson was "removed as a government informant when the government found out he was playing both sides."
He went on to say that Robeson had tried to get another confidential informant to destroy some case evidence. Robeson apparently did not know that this other person was also a confidential source.
FOX 17 will provide full coverage of the trial starting Tuesday, March 8.