GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Prosecutors in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer case say in a recent court filing they believe one of their undercover witnesses may have been targeted when four shots were fired at a man outside his workplace on April 12, 2021.
This information was brought up in a document filed in response to a motion the defendant's lawyers filed. The government pushed back on a request from their legal teams for more audio and video recorded by the 12 confidential informants used during the investigation.
They argue that revealing their identities or sharing more audio and video, could jeopardize their witnesses' safety.
"Even if [Barry] Croft (or the other defendants) did nothing to specifically promote retaliation, the defendant's extremist sympathizers might act on their own to intimidate or silence witnesses before trial," prosecutors wrote in their response.
They detail a drive-by shooting that happened in April of this year, which they imply could have been an attempted retaliation.
"On April 12, 2021, a co-worker of one of the suspected witnesses (who bears a passing resemblance to him) called the police after an apparent drive-by shooting attempt," the document reads.
"The victim stated that he was outside their workplace at approximately 1:45 a.m. when a car with headlights turned off slowed down near him and fired a total of four shots. It remains unclear whether the shooting was directed at the victim, at the suspected witness identified by Croft, or was an unrelated incident."
Another set of documents filed in federal court this week by prosecutors revealed that the five men who were charged federally with the alleged conspiracy also had discussions where they considered targeting public health officials and those transporting the COVID vaccine.
These documents were in response to a motion filed by the defendants that argued the judge in the case should alter the instructions he gives in their upcoming trials because their activities and communications should be covered under the First Amendment.
The government pushed back on this argument as well, saying it did not apply to these defendants facing conspiracy charges, rather than allegations of incitement.
"Some medical fascists are going to need a vibe check real f------g soon. How about we find out who is shipping the vaccines and then accost them and destroy the shipment," one of the men charged, Brandon Caserta, is alleged to have written in an Aug. 10, 2020 group chat.
"Doctors, who advocate mandated vaccines? Bullet to the face right in their own home. Buildings manufacturing vaccines? Blow them up. I'm not kidding about any of this."
Ty Garbin is the only defendant, of the five men charged in the alleged plot federally, to enter into a plea deal with prosecutors. Garbin has agreed to cooperate fully with the government and testify against his co-defendants when their cases eventually end up going to trial.
Garbin was sentenced to six years, and two months in prison on Wednesday for his role in the alleged conspiracy.