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Jury selection begins today for men charged in Whitmer kidnap plot

Jury selection begins today in the trial of four men charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor with a Livingston County resident figuring prominently in the prosecution.

Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft Jr. and Daniel Harris are accused of taking critical steps over several months, including secret messaging, gun drills in the woods and a night drive to northern Michigan to scout the second home of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and figure out how to blow up a bridge. Their trial will take place in federal court in Grand Rapids.

The FBI, which had infiltrated the group, said it thwarted the plan with the arrests of six men in October 2020. Two of them, Ty Garbin of Hartland Township and Kaleb Franks of Waterford Twp., have pleaded guilty and will appear as crucial witnesses for the government, giving jurors an inside view of what was planned.

Garbin, for example, said Fox, the alleged ringleader, wanted the men to chip in for a $4,000 explosive large enough to destroy a bridge near Whitmer’s home and distract police during a kidnapping.

Defense lawyers have panned the case, especially what they call the “staggering use” of informants. They deny any conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer and have signaled an entrapment defense.

Garbin and Franks insist no one in the group acted because of excessive influence by agents or undercover informants.

Separately, authorities in state court are prosecuting eight men who are accused of aiding the group.


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