Witness Testimony Begins in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Re-Trial
With the jury set, witness testimony began Wednesday morning in the federal retrial in the attempted kidnapping plot of Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Coming into this retrial, it was expected to see a lot of the same witnesses, some of the same evidence that was used in the first trial in the spring. Something had to change because the prosecution wasn’t able to get a conviction on any of the four men.
In this retrial, it was immediately clear there was a difference in their angle of approaching things and pointing out some weaknesses that lost in the trial the first time around
“We have another militia that we didn’t hear about the first trial,” said Christopher Gibbons, attorney for Fox.
Gibbons knew the prosecution couldn’t use the exact game plan twice and expect to win. Right from the beginning, the differences in strategy from the spring to now were evident.
“So we have the Second Continental Michigan Regiment, I guess my client was in in June,” said Gibbons, “Before he took over and decided to claim the post for the Michigan 3% Militia, that was offered to him by the federal government.”
The two biggest questions that led to two acquittals and two hung juries were the legitimacy of the plot being put together and the influence made by FBI informants and undercover agents.
Right away the prosecution stressed those two angles, setting up a timeline.
“The government‘s choosing to put on a case where they put little snippets of evidence,” said Josh Blanchard, attorney for Croft, “We’re trying to tell the whole story.”
Putting Facebook messages and videos showing Fox and Croft were aggressive toward the government well before meeting FBI actors. Recordings showing the two frequently talking about bringing down the government and attacking governors.
They seem to be making a stronger case than before but one the defense is ready to add context.
“It’s the same game they played last time right?,” said Blanchard, “They put in little snippets. I think [FBI Special] Agent [Todd] Reineck said that there’s over 1,000 hours of recordings and they’re putting in 15-20 second clips.”
Wednesday the court was able to get through the prosecution’s direct questioning of Agent Reineck and most of Gibbons’, cross examination and that’s where they will pick up Thursday morning.