‘We don’t make terrorists so we can arrest them’: Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Trial Heads to Jury Deliberation
Now we wait.
Closing arguments finished the federal trial into the kidnapping plot of Governor Gretchen Whitmer Friday afternoon, putting the trial in the hands of the jury.
Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft, Adam Fox and Daniel Harris all face conspiracy to kidnap charges, all but Caserta face additional charges as well.
The four week long trial will now go into at least Week #5 as the jury truly begins deliberation Monday morning.
“I’m very superstitious,” said Mike Hills, Caserta’s attorney afterward, “I’m not going to jinx myself.”
For the government, closing arguments were very linear, just recap the hundreds of pieces of evidence laid out through the trial.
“In America, there’s a lot of things you can do. You can criticize the government publicly, absolutely,” US Attorney Nils Kessler said, “If you don’t like the government’s policies, you can protest them. If you don’t like leaders, you can vote them out. What you can’t do is kidnap them, kill them, or blow them up.”
It got interesting once the defense got their turn.
Each of the attorneys taking shots at FBI informants as the true leaders of the plot, this would lead to entrapment.
“When I look at what happened in this case, I am ashamed of the behavior of the leading law enforcement agency in the United States,” said Croft’s attorney, Josh Blanchard.
Chris Gibbons, representing Fox, said “This is America. We don’t make terrorists so we can arrest them.”
Afterward he said that is the crux of the investigation.
“That is how it’s supposed to be and that was a message we wanted to send to the jury today,” Gibbons said, “I’m just happy we had an opportunity to do that.”
Gibbons argued his client’s role was overblown as he was a broke loner without influence.
“He’s a shill for the government,” Gibbons said.
Harris’ attorney, Julia Kelly, argued the venue was wrong for the possession of a short barreled rifle charge. Arguing the rifle was never fully assembled within the Western District of Michigan and he never expressly agreed to a plot against the governor.
Harris was the only defendant to testify. Two other men originally charged in the plot, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, both took guilty please before the trial started, in exchange for their testimony.
Kelly and Harris called them liars.
As for Croft, Blanchard argued his role was “stoned crazy talk” and never was aware of the details of any wild plan.
Caserta is the only one facing a single charge. Hills said his client wasn’t even that concerned with Gov. Whitmer, he mainly pushed against mandated vaccines. With Caserta heavily tattooed and known for making outlandish videos with claims of killing law enforcement and contact tracers, Hills says the government picked him because he looks the part.
“Not great,” Hills said, “But it’s not about kidnapping or killing the governor of Michigan.”
Hills made a last second plea to the jury knowing the government would get their chance to rebut.
“I say that in just about every case because the problem is, once I sit down and put my butt in the chair, I can’t get back up and the government has that chance to rebut what I say,” said Hills.
Monday morning at 8:30 and jurors will have access to all evidence from the case until they find unanimous decisions on all charges.