NewsThe Retrial: Governor Kidnapping Plot


No trial Friday in governor kidnapping plot case following day of explosive testimony

US Attorney Nils Kessler questions witness Sp. FBI Agent Todd Rynek.jpg
Posted at 1:19 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 15:39:16-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There will be no testimony Friday in the Governor kidnapping plot case.

The jury heard explosive new evidence on day three of the trial for four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Thursday marked day three of the trial for the men accused of plotting to kidnap and kill Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the second day of witness testimony.

Three FBI agents took the stand Thursday, sharing secret audio recordings obtained by undercover informants, 3D renderings of key locations and how the government surveilled the group of accused men.

Secret recordings obtained by undercover FBI informants give a deeper look into the seriousness of the plans the men were allegedly hatching to murder law enforcement officers and kidnap the governor.

“I want to burn mother----s houses down and blow s--t up. I’m going to do some of the most nasty things you’ve ever read about in your life,” says a voice identified by an FBI witness as Barry Croft.

“I like that,” responds a voice in the background.

MORE: FBI special agents testify on day 3 of the governor kidnapping plot trial

The recordings were from a series of meetings small and large, where Croft refers to the group as ‘founding fathers’ and instructs on how to build and detonate improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

Croft, who is heard referring to himself in the first-person multiple times in the recordings, suggests putting pennies or BBs into the IEDs to act as shrapnel and warns others in the recording to avoid friction and smoking around the devices.

“It’s devastating,” he tells the others. "It's like 300 rounds of ammunition going off all at once…I'm talking devastating."

Later, Croft can be heard talking about capturing public officials and parading them down the street naked. He also suggested killing a police officer, taking their uniform and wearing it to murder a federal agent to spark division between federal and state law enforcement agencies.

At one point, Croft suggests shooting up a police precinct and taking out a communications tower at a municipal airport to ground police helicopters – all distractions while the group tried to kidnap the governor.

“Whitmer,” he says by name. “Whitmer from Michigan.”

The revelations came during testimony from Special Agent Christopher Long with the FBI, who told the jury he was the one who provided the recording device to confidential human source Steve Robeson.

The FBI used laser mapping to create a virtual re-creation of Governor Whitmer’s summer home in Elk Rapids, the location the defendants were allegedly planning to kidnap her from.

They also made scans of a nearby bridge the men were allegedly planning to blow up and inside The Vac Shack, the Grand Rapids vacuum repair shop that Adam Fox was living and working out of.

The jury heard about the FBI using what they called pole cameras at several of the properties the men were conducting field training exercises at. They installed these cameras on telephone poles in Luther and in Munich. They also got a license plate scanner onto one of those properties to monitor the vehicles coming in and out.

Agents were able to monitor these video feeds live at any time.

Another interesting point that came up in a recording of Adam Fox in court on Thursday is that he told a group of men, including Barry Croft, that he and five carloads of “battle-ready” people at the riot in downtown Grand Rapids in 2020. He said in the recording that they were planning to go downtown but just ended up driving by before leaving.

The defense of all four men rests on a claim of entrapment, driven by the idea that FBI informants had personal and monetary motivations for convincing the men to commit a higher crime.

All four defendants, Daniel Harris, Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, and Barry Croft are facing one count each of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Fox and Harris face one count each of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction for their alleged test run of an IED detonation. Harris and Croft are also charged with possession of an unregistered disruptive device. Harris also faces one count of possession of an unregistered short-barreled rifle that he allegedly carried with him to a training.

Testimony wrapped up at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Court will be out of session on Friday, but testimony will resume Monday.

Follow along with FOX 17 throughout the day as we bring you the latest updates every day of the trial.

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