GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Day four of testimony in the trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer began with a jury snafu.
Testimony was delayed briefly while the court tried to contact missing juror #162. One of the six alternate jurors, #43, stepped in to fill the vacancy. FOX 17 later learned the absent juror was sick, but not with COVID-19.
Court resumed today after a possible exposure to the virus delayed testimony for three days.
The highlight has been the testimony of FBI Special Agent Mark Schweers, who went by the pseudonym Mark Woods while in contact with defendant Adam Fox.
Fox has been painted by the prosecution as the ringleader of the alleged plot, and Schweers described accompanying Fox and other members of the Wolverine Watchmen on missions to surveil key locations in the plan.
Schweers said the group identified three possible locations for their abduction: the governor’s mansion in Lansing, her official vacation home on Mackinac Island, and a private home associated with the governor in Traverse City.
Schweers said he was in contact with Fox at least weekly via an encrypted messaging app, had gone with him to field-training exercises the group conducted, and even visited him in his basement home inside the Vac Shack store in Wyoming, Michigan, where the two discussed potential violence against public officials.
“We’re moving forward; we’re actively planning missions,” Fox is heard telling Schweers in a summer 2020 recording. “What else can we do, man? We can’t do it legally. They have infinite resources at their disposal.”
“In a matter of months, we’ll all be criminal anyways,” Fox continues. “In the eyes of my God, I’ll die a f---ing saint.”
Some of the recordings also honed in on another defendant, Barry Croft. Schweers testified that Croft had tried on multiple occasions to detonate an explosive device, with the intent of using it in the alleged kidnapping plot.
On another secret recording, obtained by the special agent, Croft was at an event in Wisconsin where members of the Wolverine Watchmen and several other militia groups met when Croft’s young daughter can be heard asking her father if he wants a Dorito.
“Honey, I’m making explosives,” responds a voice identified as Croft.
Croft was also the center of earlier testimony given by FBI Special Agent Christopher Long. Long noted that Croft had a felony pardoned in Delaware, his home state. It’s a point of contention, as prosecutors claim because of Croft’s felony record, he was not allowed to possess a firearm. Presumably, he would have been allowed to own it if the felony was pardoned. Croft is facing a charge of knowingly conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against a person or property in addition to the kidnapping-conspiracy charge.
OUR COMPLETE COVERAGE: The Trial: Governor Kidnapping Plot