Judge warns defense not to waste witness's time in day 7 of governor kidnapping plot trial

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Posted at 7:54 AM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 22:26:22-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  — The seventh day of the federal trial to decide whether four men are guilty of a conspiracy to kidnap and kill Governor Gretchen Whitmer wrapped up Tuesday, but not without stern words from the judge to end the day’s session.

In court Tuesday, the judge made it clear that they want to be mindful of the witness’s time.

This is the second full day this week of testimony from just one person, known as Big Dan, a confidential informant and the government’s key witness.

Attorney Josh Blanchard, representing Barry Croft, got the book thrown at him Tuesday for his questioning of the witness, specifically about plans involving a helicopter and, to use his words, a fake Navy Seal.

Blanchard saying ultimately, his questioning was an attempt to prove that the alleged plan was not a plan – it was too ridiculous to be considered one.

The judge pointed out that the things he was discussing about the plan are not part of the government’s case and the questioning was wasting the witness’s time

Brandon Caserta’s attorney tried to point out that his client was not in the “circle of trust” meetings, did not attend the recon trip to the governor’s cottage up north, and didn’t give any money to the group’s alleged efforts to kidnap the governor at her northern Michigan home.

“The government tried to get him in. Through free money, through trying to prop up Adam Fox, and my client never went. My client didn’t go on two recons that they had. My client was asked, they tried to task him to go, but he didn’t go,” said Michael Hills, Caserta’s attorney.

Wednesday will be the third day that the confidential informant will take the stand.

Daniel Harris's attorney was the first to question Dan in court on Tuesday.

Daniel Harris's defense attorney spent some of Tuesday morning clarifying which trainings her client had been at, when, and where, as well as his involvement in the alleged creation of plans.

She also took a shot at questioning Dan about messages and group chats he shared with the other defendants on trial

An FBI agent even told Dan, "Look at you, bringing people together," in reference to forming group chats with members of the militia group.

The messages also show that FBI agents asked Dan to "apply more pressure" to keep the group together.

Dan also spoke with Adam Fox, the alleged ringleader of the group, about creating a "softer target" that might "be better" for Daniel Harris. The "soft target" was the governor's boat.

The idea would be for Harris and Garbin to destroy the governor's boat.

The defense is trying to prove that informants like Dan were the instigators of the plot to kidnap and kill the governor, not the four men on trial.

After Harris’s attorney finished questioning Dan Tuesday morning, Brandon Caserta’s attorney started cross-examining the FBI informant.

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