COVID-19 delays trial in plot to abduct Mich. Gov. Whitmer

Mar 13, 2022, 8:42 PM | Updated: Mar 14, 2022, 1:06 pm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her COVID-19 restrictions didn’t resume as scheduled Monday after someone tested positive for the virus.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker did not identify the person in his order Sunday, saying only that an “essential trial participant” tested positive over the weekend. The trial might resume Thursday.

The trial, which involves 18 jurors, four defendants and a raft of lawyers and support staff, started last week in a windowless courtroom in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The jury heard some evidence Wednesday and Thursday before going home for the weekend.

Masks were optional in court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth was the only lawyer to wear one, removing it only to deliver his opening statement to the jury and to question witnesses.

The defendants — Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta — were not wearing masks and neither was the judge. One juror had a mask.

Undercover FBI agents and informants are expected to testify in the coming weeks, along with two men, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, who have pleaded guilty to a scheme to kidnap Whitmer because of her tough policies during the early months of the pandemic. The trial could last more than a month.

On Thursday, jurors for the first time heard a recording of one of the men specifically talk about kidnapping Whitmer, a Democrat. Croft could be heard saying it should be “a quick, precise grab.”

It was an early rebuttal by prosecutors to defense claims that the men were somehow entrapped or tricked by the FBI into joining a kidnapping conspiracy that wouldn’t have occurred to them otherwise.

In 2020, Whitmer was trading taunts with then-President Donald Trump over his administration’s response to COVID-19. Her critics regularly protested at the Michigan Capitol, clogging streets around the statehouse and legally carrying semi-automatic rifles into the building.

Whitmer, who is seeking reelection this year, rarely talks publicly about the case. She has blamed Trump for fomenting anger over coronavirus restrictions and refusing to condemn right-wing extremists like those charged in the case. She has said Trump was complicit in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

___

White reported from Detroit.

___

Find AP’s full coverage of the Whitmer kidnap plot trial at: https://apnews.com/hub/whitmer-kidnap-plot-trial

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Musher Jessie Holmes takes a break from cooking his dogs a meal to nuzzle with two wheel dog...
Associated Press

Alaska reality star injured while cleaning up storm damage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A reality television star and Iditarod musher was injured this week while helping clean up storm damage along Alaska’s western coast. Jessie Holmes, who since 2015 has starred in “Life Below Zero,” a show about life in rural Alaska produced by National Geographic TV, was injured by falling debris in a […]
15 hours ago
FILE - A physician assistant prepares a syringe with the monkeypox vaccine for a patient during a v...
Associated Press

Some officials now say monkeypox elimination unlikely in US

NEW YORK (AP) — Some U.S. health officials are conceding that monkeypox is probably not going away anytime soon. The disease’s spread is slowing but the virus is so widespread that elimination is unlikely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. That conclusion was in a recent CDC report, and echoed Friday by Marc […]
15 hours ago
American's Andy Huynh, right, and Alex Drueke arrive at the TWA Hotel on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 in ...
Associated Press

U.S. captives ‘prayed for death’ on brutal ride from Ukraine

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Even after three months of captivity that included execution threats, physical torture, solitary confinement and food deprivation, it was the ride to freedom that nearly broke Alex Drueke, a U.S. military veteran released last week with nine other prisoners who went to help Ukraine fight off Russian invaders. His hands were […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Plea deal for Ex-Trump adviser accused of unwanted advances

LAS VEGAS (AP) — An ex-adviser to former President Donald Trump has taken a plea deal to resolve allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances to a GOP donor at a Las Vegas event. Corey Lewandowski entered into a plea agreement earlier this month involving a charge of misdemeanor battery, according to online Clark County […]
15 hours ago
This combination of photos shows, from left, Demi Lovato, Jack Harlow and Dua Lipa, who will perfor...
Associated Press

Jack Harlow, Dua Lipa, Demi Lovato headline Jingle Ball tour

NEW YORK (AP) — iHeartRadio has unveiled a starry rotating lineup for the winter 2022 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball tour, including sets by Jack Harlow, Dua Lipa, Backstreet Boys, Demi Lovato, Lizzo and Charlie Puth. The 11-city tour will hit Fort Worth, Texas; Los Angeles; Chicago; Detroit; New York City; Boston; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Tampa and Ft. […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Sun shines on the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, Aug. 12, 2022. Negotiators have agreed to...
Associated Press

House OKs bill to avert government shutdown, aid Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-led House passed a short-term spending bill on Friday that finances the federal government through mid-December and provides another infusion of military and economic aid to Ukraine as lawmakers acted to avert a partial government shutdown set to begin after midnight. The bill passed the House by a vote of 230-201. […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
COVID-19 delays trial in plot to abduct Mich. Gov. Whitmer