Jury seated in retrial of men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

WWJ News Radio
WWJ News Radio

GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) – A group of 18 men and women, including six alternates, have been seated to the jury that will decide whether two men charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are guilty.

A federal judge and lawyers in Grand Rapids on Tuesday finalized the jury for the retrial of Barry Croft, Jr., and Adam Fox. While a separate jury acquitted two other suspects in April, and two others previously pleaded guilty, a verdict could not be reached for Croft and Fox in the spring.

The men were ordered to go on trial again.

Federal prosecutors will again try to prove that Croft and Fox made special trips to Northern Michigan to plan the alleged kidnapping.

Defense attorneys have claimed Croft and Fox were entrapped by the FBI, while prosecutors say they were part of a plot to kidnap Whitmer ahead of the 2020 presidential election, devised by men who were upset with the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions and other policies.

As was the case in the first trial, the jury members for the retrial were picked in just one day. The jury includes 10 women and eight men. While all-white jury decided the first case, two Black women and a Hispanic man are on the jury for the retrial, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker seemed to make mistrust in the government a priority in questioning prospective jurors, according to the Free Press. He asked them how they felt about the government and noted this case is “loaded with controversial issues,” including Whitmer’s response to the pandemic, mask mandates and lockdowns, as well as the FBI investigation.

WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said earlier Tuesday jury selection is the most important part of a trial.

He says any new trial typically favors the defense.

“Because the defense has seen all of the government’s witnesses,” Langton said. “But we will see.”

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