Lawyers for just two men charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called investigators to the witness stand Friday to attempt to raise questions about their tactics in 2020 and highlight scornful attitudes.
The defense rested its case on the ninth day of trial. Closing arguments were scheduled for Monday in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. declined to testify. They’re on trial for another time following a jury in April couldnt reach a unanimous verdict but acquitted two other men.
John Penrod, a Delaware state trooper who done the case with the FBI, was met with text messages where he called Croft a coward along with other pejoratives.
Think about moron? asked attorney Joshua Blanchard.
It may be Mr. Croft or it may be anyone in the group, Penrod replied.
Blanchard also played audio of FBI agent Hank Impola telling an informant, A saying we’ve in my own office is, Dont allow facts block the way of an excellent story.’
But on cross-examination, agent Corey Baumgardner agreed with a prosecutor who said Impolas remark 8 weeks following the arrests was actually a mention of how Croft and Fox would spin the kidnapping allegations.
The defense argues that Fox and Croft were entrapped by agents and informants who fed their wild anti-government views. Prosecutors say the group wished to trigger a national revolt and was furious over COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Whitmer through the first stages of the pandemic.
Croft, 46, is from Bear, Delaware. Fox, 39, was surviving in the basement of vacuum pressure shop in the Grand Rapids area.
U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker gave instructions to jurors before sending them home for the weekend. He said the pair could possibly be found guilty of conspiracy if jurors believe there is a mutual understanding to commit a kidnapping, among other factors, even though one wasnt completed.
But entrapment could apply if the jury believes agents and informants persuaded Fox and Croft to commit a crime they werent ready to do before engaging them, the judge said.
Consider what the data shows concerning the defendants character and reputation. Let these exact things marinate is likely to minds, Jonker said.