GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Federal prosecutors are asking that a metro Grand Rapids man convicted of plotting to kidnap the governor be sent to prison for the rest of his life.
Adam Fox and Barry Croft, of Delaware, were convicted in August of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and to use a weapon of mass destruction. Fox’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12.
“The (sentencing) Guidelines call for a life sentence for Fox,” a motion filed in federal court Monday says.
Prosecutors say that a life sentence can be applied under a “terrorism enhancement” linked to his weapon of mass destruction conspiracy conviction. And even with out that enhancement, they say, he would face of sentence of 30 years to life.
“This was no ‘run of the mill’ kidnapping plot,” the motion reads in part. “(Fox) targeted not just any victim, but an official victim; and not just any official, but the head of a state. He was no follower; he was an active recruiter and prime mover. The terrorism enhancement here literally takes Fox’s Guideline score off the chart. But it applies. His goal was not personal gain; it was a bona fide ‘revolution.'”
Investigators say Fox, Croft and a group of militia members planned to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because they were angry over the executive orders she issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In court, prosecutors presented evidence that the men intended to snatch her from her vacation home near Elk Rapids and blow up bridges to slow down the police chasing them. Investigators say the men held training exercises and committing to buying explosives for the kidnapping — though the sellers were actually undercover FBI agents. The plot was busted in October 2020.
The government argued that the court’s sentence “should reflect the incredibly dangerous threat posed by Adam Fox and Barry Croft’s attempt to light the fire of a second revolution.”
“A plan to kidnap and harm the Governor of Michigan is not only a threat to the officeholder but to democracy itself,” prosecutors wrote.
Fox and Croft were convicted following their second trial; the first one in the spring deadlocked. They sought a third trial, citing concerns about a biased juror, but a federal judge denied the request, saying there was no misconduct by the juror in question. Croft’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 28, the Associated Press reports.
Two other men charged at the federal level in the plot pleaded guilty and received lighter sentences. Two more were acquitted in April. Three others were convicted of state-level charges in October. Other defendants are still awaiting their day in court.
*Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the month in which Fox and Croft were convicted. We regret the error, which has been fixed.