GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — For a second day, and a second time, defendants Adam Fox and Barry Croft sat silently in a federal courtroom and listened to familiar testimony. The two, facing charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and possession of a weapon of mass destruction and destructive device, are being retried after a jury failed to reach a conclusion on the very same list of charges back in early-April.
Opening statements started and ended Wednesday, and Thursday, the jury heard from Special Agents Todd Reinek and Christopher Long, both with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sp. Agent Long said Croft had been on the FBI’s radar long before the alleged scheme to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer – or the group of nearly a dozen men accused of trying to carry it out – even came together.
In their attempt to defend the claim that their clients were entrapped by undercover agents and informants working for the FBI, attorneys noted that a Facebook page that brought the group together, and events set up on the social media app, were created by confidential sources working for the government.
“So we learned today that Steve Robeson asked Jenny Plunk to create the Facebook page for the militia, how about that?” said Croft's attorney Joshua Blanchard, referring to two confidential sources employed by the FBI during the investigation. “The Facebook page that all this was going on through was created by the government. We put in a record today that showed that Steve Robeson created the event in Wisconsin that you’re going to hear a lot about tomorrow.”
In April, two former co-defendants, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, were cleared of all charges. Two more co-defendants, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, both testified in the original trial for the prosecution. Garbin received a six-year prison sentence after accepting a plea deal, and Franks will be sentenced after the conclusion of this trial.
Blanchard, when asked, did not believe Robseon, who invoked his Fifth Amendment right to silence at the original trial, would testify this time around.
“Robeson’s got all sorts of issues, and I don’t think we’ll hear from him,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to hear from Robeson.”
Croft also did not testify during the original trial – Daniel Harris was the only defendant to do so. Asked whether or not his client would take the stand during his retrial, Blanchard was vague.
“I’m not going to discuss trial strategy with you, but thanks,” he said, before briskly walking away.