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EXPLAINER: What is entrapment's role at kidnap plot trial?

Whitmer plot
Posted at 4:47 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 16:47:39-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The core question at the trial of four men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is whether the FBI engaged in entrapment.

That's the prohibited practice of cajoling or tricking subjects into committing crimes.

An entrapment defense exists as a check on overzealous investigators seeking to create crimes by trapping credulous, desperate subjects.

Defense lawyers at the kidnapping-plot trial have portrayed their clients as big-talking, pot-smoking weekend warriors, susceptible to manipulation by FBI undercover agents and informants.

Prosecutors say the defendants had already broached the idea of kidnapping Whitmer and other schemes before they came into contact with the FBI.