- Associated Press
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Prosecutors in Michigan have rested their case against four men charged with planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer before the 2020 national election.

Key evidence came from two undercover FBI agents and an informant who infiltrated the group and made hours of secret recordings. Two men who avoided trial by pleading guilty provided critical testimony last week.


Wednesday was the 13th day of trial in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The final witnesses included Barry Croft Jr.’s longtime companion, who said he was “antigovernment.”

Croft, Adam Fox, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta are charged with a kidnapping conspiracy. Fox, Croft and Harris also face additional charges related to explosives.

Defense lawyers claim it was a lot of crazy talk fueled by agents and informants.

A man accused of leading a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was “antigovernment” and believed officials were out to “line their own pockets,” his longtime companion testified Wednesday as prosecutors moved closer to wrapping up evidence.

Chastity Knight spoke to jurors on the 13th day of trial in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was asked about Barry Croft Jr.’s tattoos, including one popular among extremists, and his attitude toward government.

“He was antigovernment,” Knight, 40, of Bear, Delaware, said. “He just thought the government’s not for him. The government doesn’t help the people out. They like to line their own pockets.”

Croft, Adam Fox, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta are charged with a kidnapping conspiracy. Fox, Croft and Harris also face additional charges related to explosives.

Prosecutors were preparing to rest their case Wednesday.

Knight cried as she identified one of Croft’s daughters as the person who offered him a chip during a training session with weapons in Luther, Michigan.

“Honey, I’m making explosives. Can you get away from me, please? … I love you. Get out of here,” Croft said in secretly recorded remarks.

Defense lawyers plan to call their own witnesses. They claim the group was engaged in a lot of crazy talk fueled by agents, informants and marijuana.

The men were arrested in October 2020 as they moved closer to obtaining an explosive that could blow up a bridge and hold back police from responding to a kidnapping at Whitmer’s vacation home, according to trial testimony.

The group was angry over COVID-19 restrictions and disgusted with government, recordings and social media posts show.

Whitmer, a Democrat, rarely talks publicly about the kidnapping plot, though she referred to “surprises” during her term that seem like “something out of fiction” when she filed for reelection on March 17.

She has blamed former President Donald Trump for fomenting anger over coronavirus restrictions and refusing to condemn right-wing extremists like those charged in the case. Whitmer has said Trump was complicit in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.


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