A jury convicted two men of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, delivering swift verdicts in a plot that was broken up by the FBI and described as a rallying cry for a U.S. civil war by anti-government extremists, the Associated Press reports. The result was a victory for the U.S. Justice Department. A different jury four months ago couldn’t reach unanimous decisions on Adam Fox or Barry Croft Jr. and acquitted two other men, a stunning conclusion that led to a second trial. The men's arrests nearly two years ago came at a tense time: the volatile homestretch of the election between Joe Biden and then-President Trump playing out against a backdrop of armed protests over COVID-19 restrictions, especially in Michigan.
Jury selection in the retrial of Fox and Croft coincidentally occurred a day after FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate for documents, putting the agency in headlines at the same time that the judge was trying to detect any biases about law enforcement in the jury pool. Fox and Croft were convicted Tuesday of two counts of conspiracy related to the kidnapping scheme and attempts to use a weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors said they wanted to blow up a bridge to disrupt police if the abduction could be pulled off at Whitmer’s vacation home. Croft, 46, a trucker from Bear, De., was also convicted of another explosives charge. The jury deliberated for roughly eight hours over two days. Law enforcement officials have been warning about an increase in threats and the potential for violence against agents or buildings.