January 29, 2023

NO DICE: Michigan Gov. Whitmer kidnap plotters lose unfair conviction appeal

NO DICE: Michigan Gov. Whitmer kidnap plotters lose unfair conviction appeal

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Two men convicted of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer say they were treated unfairly when they were found guilty, both of the conspiracy to kidnap and of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against persons or property.

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A judge says otherwise, denying Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. a new trial in advance of their December sentencing date.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker ruled that there was no evidence of juror misconduct, as alleged by Fox and Croft, and that he could find no constitutional violation in their trial and conviction.

It marks yet another failing of the participants in the plot to dodge culpability.

Croft and Fox’s legal defense alleges that a juror’s co-worker said that juror was “far-left leaning” and was prepared to convict even before hearing all of the evidence.

However, Judge Jonker interviewed the juror in question, whose identity has not been revealed, and neither this conversation nor the defense’s interview of the juror’s co-workers provided evidence of wrongdoing.

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They also claim the trial judge violated the defendants’ rights by limiting the time counsel could spend cross-examining a key witness. Jonker did not find a violation in this, either.

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WRAL reports:

“Defendants have neither demonstrated that the jury verdict is ‘against the manifest weight of the evidence’ nor that a ‘substantial legal error has occurred’ such that the interests of justice demand a new trial,” Jonker wrote in Friday’s ruling.

The Associated Press reported on the filing back in September, noting that it revealed “an aggressive effort to learn more about a juror,” with the defense sending an investigator to question the juror’s colleagues at their workplace.

Defendants in the case previously tried to have the case dismissed by claiming entrapment, citing FBI infiltration of their militia group, but, as MLive reported back in January, that effort was readily dismissed, also by Jonker:

“They must show that the undisputed evidence demonstrates both government inducement and a patently clear absence of predisposition as a matter of law,” he wrote in a six-page opinion issued Tuesday, Jan. 26.

“Defendants fail to carry their burden because the evidence on both issues is decidedly disputed as it almost inevitably is at this stage of the case.”

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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