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  • Gretchen Whitmer: FBI agent ‘bomb-maker’ in kidnap plot

    Men who allegedly plotted to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor in 2020 sought to buy bombs with “IOUs”, a court has heard.

    FBI agent Timothy Bates testified Monday that he had posed undercover as a bomb-maker and infiltrated the plotters’ group.

    The group was “excited” to buy bombs, but did not have the funds, he said.

    The government says the men are armed extremists who targeted Gretchen Whitmer over her Covid-19 policies.

    But lawyers for the four accused argue they were entrapped by the FBI.

    Federal prosecutors are expected to conclude their case on Tuesday.

    Adam Fox, 38, Daniel Harris, 24, Brandon Caserta, 33, and Barry Croft, 46, each face charges of kidnapping conspiracy.

    Fox, Harris and Croft also face an additional charge of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

    The group planned to snatch Governor Whitmer from her vacation home in north Michigan, the court heard earlier.

    Mr Bates was embedded within them under the guise of being a bomb-maker named “Red”. He had convinced them he had access to high-grade explosives.

    The plan, he said, was to abduct the governor, then blow up one or two bridges in the vicinity of her home to thwart law enforcement.

    The agent said he showed videos of explosives to the defendants during a training weekend.

    Mr Fox, said to be the group’s ringleader, was “excited about what he saw” and asked if Mr Bates would “take an IOU” while he put together $4,000 (£3,044) to pay for the explosives, Mr Bates testified.

    But under cross-examination, Mr Bates acknowledged he had not ever been paid to procure the explosives.

    Defence attorneys have sought to downplay the plot as wild and profane chatter rather than an actual plan.

    They are also seeking to compel the testimony of an FBI informant, who they argue entrapped the men.

    Last week, two former co-conspirators – Ty Garbin, 26, and Kaleb Franks, 27 – took the stand to detail plans and discussions around the violent plot, with one telling the court the men hoped it would become the “ignition” for a second US civil war.


    29 March 2022

    Find this story at 29 March 2022