GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The jury ended its fourth day of deliberations in the trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap and kill Governor Gretchen Whitmer without reaching a verdict. They'll return on Friday for day five of deliberations.
The jury began deliberating first thing Monday morning, and we’ve seen and heard very little from them since then.
Wednesday morning, the jury asked Judge Robert Jonker for Post-it Notes and paperclips before resuming deliberations.
Tuesday morning, the second full day of deliberations, the jury asked to look at transcripts of witness testimony. Judge Jonker would not allow them to view transcripts while they deliberated because he says there is a “richness” to oral testimony that gets lost when it’s put into the written word. The jury was dismissed by the judge just before 5 Tuesday evening.
On Monday morning the 12-person jury panel and three alternates were brought into the courtroom for a total of about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Judge Jonker told them this is not about politics or about the pandemic, this is a criminal case and they have to weigh the evidence and the law.
Just after 3 p.m. that day, the jury asked Judge Jonker for the definition of a weapon.
He told them it is a category of devices that could readily be used or designed to destroy, injure or kill someone or something, as opposed to something you’d simply use for fun, and that the term could be applied very broadly based on context.
Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were arrested in October of 2020 and charged with conspiracy to kidnap for allegedly planning to kidnap Governor Whitmer. Fox, Croft and Harris face additional charges.
The men were supposedly angry over COVID-19 restrictions and allegedly planned it from June to October 2020.
The defense has argued that the defendants were entrapped by undercover agents and informants who pushed the plan forward.
Three things have to be proven for the jury to reach a guilty verdict:
- that two or more people conspired the plan
- they willingly and voluntarily entered it
- they did things to advance it.
If convicted, all four men could spend the rest of their lives behind bars.