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Whitmer Kidnap Conspiracy Case Won't Deter Extremists, Experts Say

The conviction of two men for conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shows that jurors in a divided nation can still reach agreement in politically charged cases, experts say. The case leaves unanswered questions about the potential for violence by extremists with a vendetta against government and law enforcement, the Associated Press reports. “I hope it will be a deterrent in the future, but we need to see some softening of the rhetoric before we can accurately predict that,” said Michael Edison Hayden of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. A federal jury in Grand Rapids returned guilty verdicts Tuesday against Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. on two counts of conspiracy. Two others in the plot, Kaleb Franks and Ty Garbin, pleaded guilty earlier.

Franks’ sentencing is set for Oct. 6, Fox’s for Dec. 12 and Croft’s for Dec. 28. Garbin is serving a six-year term, but prosecutors asked a judge to cut that to three due to his “remarkable” assistance to the government. A different jury in April deadlocked on Fox and Croft while acquitting two other men. That outcome prompted worries that the overheated political landscape was hampering jurors’ ability to put aside biases, particularly when the FBI — a frequent target of right-wing activists and commentators — was involved.


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