Jurors to begin day 3 of deliberations in plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Posted at 7:00 AM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 07:00:44-04

(WXYZ) — Jurors in the trial of the four men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have yet to reach a verdict.

Day three of deliberations will be getting underway Wednesday morning in Grand Rapids.

It's not clear how long deliberations will continue, and in court on Tuesday, they asked U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jonker for trial transcripts.

He said no for two reasons: First, they aren't available yet, and second, jurors aren't supposed to have them. They're expected to make a decision based on the memory of what went down in court.

A local defense attorney said this could be good news for the men on trial.

The trial wrapped up last week after 34 witnesses took the stand, from undercover FBI agents to men who pleaded guilty for their role in the plot.

After 13 days of testimony and nearly 16 hours of deliberation, jurors are still trying to decide who's at fault.

"One of the challenges certainly is that that trial has lasted a couple of weeks, and so their memories may not be as fresh about a witness who testified earlier in the case versus a witness who testified later in the case," Attorney Michael Deszi said.

He has a lot of experience trying cases in federal court, and he said jurors often ask for a printed play-by-play of the trial, but there's a reason their request was denied.

"If you just read the words on paper, for instance, that may distract you from, or that may change your memory from what you heard or what you perceived was happening while the witness was testifying," Deszi said.

Daniel Harris, Barry Croft, Brandon Caserta and Adam Fox are the men accused of planning the plot and trying to carry it out.

Harris is the only one who took the stand.

Ty Garbin and Caleb Franks turned on the four men and offered testimony in exchange for plea deals.

Deszi said when jurors drag out deliberations, it likely means they're questioning whether there is enough evidence for a conviction. In his experience, this usually benefits the defense, not the prosecution.

He also said the jurors could come out with verdicts for on some defendants for certain charges. That's because there are four people on trial, with mountains of evidence and multiple offenses to consider.