NewsThe Retrial: Governor Kidnapping Plot


'He tried to assist the conspirators': Government doesn't want undercover source to testify at trial

Steve Robeson was an undercover informant who was apparently fired after the government found out he was "playing both sides"
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Posted at 1:21 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 13:30:51-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The government made it clear in a new court filing that they do not want one of their undercover informants who investigated the men charged with plotting to kidnap the governor to testify at trial.

Steve Robeson played a major role in collecting undercover recordings and information on the four men currently charged in the alleged plot to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Only two other undercovers have been named in the trial: "Big Dan" Chappel, and Jenny Plunk.

There were roughly 12 undercover informants reporting back to federal investigators, as well as two undercover FBI agents, who were known to the group as "Red" and "Mark".

While Chappel spent several days on the stand this week and last, prosecutors are not planning to call Steve Robeson to testify on their behalf. Multiple audio recordings the government says Robeson made have been introduced at trial though.

Adam Fox's attorney Chris Gibbons told Judge Robert Jonker late Thursday that the defense has subpoenaed Robeson, and plans to call him as a witness.

Judge Jonker gave prosecutors until the end of the day Friday to submit a response to the defense's request to call Robeson.

Prosecutors filed their motion with the federal court around 10 a.m. Friday, explaining, "Steve had been breaking the law without authorization and surreptitiously assisting the other conspirators."

"He had been admonished by the FBI not to commit crimes unless FBI gave him authority to do so. Yet, notwithstanding that, he tried to assist the conspirators in several ways," it continues.

Prosecutors say that Robeson notified Barry Croft that he was "wanted" after Fox, Harris, Caserta were arrested by FBI agents.

Steve is accused of trying to destroy or manipulate evidence in the case.

Prosecutors explained he, "told another CHS (who Steve did not know was a CHS) to encrypt the training roster and that Steve would still assist with the kidnapping. Steve then called CHS “Dan” (who Steve also did not know was a CHS) and told him to destroy footage that Franks took casing the governor’s house."

He allegedly later told Dan Chappel to throw Barry Croft's gun into a lake, and get rid of a vehicle they had apparently used for a recon drive.

Robeson told investigators he did these things to "try and avoid being 'outed' as a source.

Prosecutors hope for Judge Jonker to bar Robeson from testifying in court.

They are asking for a hearing in which both sides can voir dire Robeson away from the jury, after which Judge Jonker would make a decision as to whether or not his testimony will be allowed.

"Steve could incriminate himself if he admits to his obstructive acts or admits to offering to carry out the kidnapping notwithstanding the arrests of some defendants. As questions regarding his duplicity would make up the majority of the government’s cross-examination, the government anticipates that Steve will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination on most, if not all, questions posed during cross-examination," prosecutors argue in their motion.

Concluding, "Such a complete denial of the government’s ability to cross-examine a witness merits striking the entire testimony."

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