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A man accused of playing a leading role in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer came to the attention of the FBI in 2019 after posting fiery social media messages targeting law enforcement, an agent testified Thursday.
The trial of four men has resumed in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Procedure were delayed three days after a trial participant tested positive for COVID-19.
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Defense attorney Barry Croft Jr. took over the cross-examination of FBI agent Christopher Long, who was asked about how investigators became interested in the trucker from Bear, Delaware.
Long said Croft wrote on social media in 2019 that he wanted to force the officers out of their house with fire, then “have a mob trial and hang them from the nearest tree.”
Defense attorney Joshua Blanchard told jurors that the FBI prosecuted Croft because they just didn’t like him or his associates who held anti-government views.
Croft, Adam Fox, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta are charged with conspiracy. Prosecutors say they turned their anger on the government in 2020 in a plot to kidnap Whitmer due to the restrictions she imposed during the early months of the pandemic.
The testimony began on March 9.
Jurors listening to social media videos and secretly recorded conversations last week heard Fox and Croft talk about take action against the government. Defense attorneys say informants and undercover agents improperly influenced the men.
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Whitmer, a Democrat seeking reelection, rarely speaks publicly about the case. She has blamed former President Donald Trump for fomenting anger over coronavirus restrictions and refusing to condemn right-wing extremists like those charged in the case. She said Trump was complicit in the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.