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Man acquitted in alleged gretchen whitmer kidnapping plot speaks out against government narrative


A man cleared of all charges in alleged conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) spoke Friday as the retrial of two other defendants in the case concludes.

Brandon Caserta, a former member of the Wolverine Watchmen militia group, told reporters Friday that the FBI “made up” the alleged kidnapping plan and that without the interference of undercover agents, no one would have attempted to commit a crime.

“People say things that are offensive and might sound violent, but there’s a difference between actually being violent and just being with a group of people and talking crap,” says Caserta said WDIV TV.

“If the government hadn’t been involved in this situation, it would never have gotten to where it is now,” he said.

In October 2020, authorities, with the help of multiple whistleblowers and undercover FBI agents, uncovered an alleged conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer. More than a dozen men were arrested and six were indicted in federal court, while the remaining suspects faced state crimes charges.

Of those facing federal charges, Caserta and Daniel Harris were found not guilty on all counts in April. A jury failed to reach a verdict against defendants Adam Fox and Barry Croft, leading the judge to declare a mistrial. Two remaining defendants, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, pleaded guilty before their trials. Garbin is currently serving a six-year sentence and Franks is awaiting sentencing.

Fox and Croft are currently awaiting the outcome of their retrials in court.

Authorities say the two men are domestic terrorists who orchestrated the alleged kidnapping plot after expressing anger at Whitmer’s pandemic health regulations, which forced businesses and schools to close to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“These defendants stood outside a woman’s home in the middle of the night with night vision goggles and guns and a plot to kidnap her,” US Assistant Attorney Nils Kessler said in his closing arguments Monday. “And they built a real bomb. That’s far enough, isn’t it?”

Caserta disagreed.

“I find it ridiculous that the government is still trying to push this narrative that these people are actually terrorists,” Caserta said said Friday in federal court in Grand Rapids, where Fox and Croft will be tried. “I hope this jury does the same things that the last jury did for us. (Fox and Croft) don’t deserve to be here because they say mean things and insult people.”

The defense argues that the alleged kidnapping plot was in fact the result of an FBI capture and that undercover FBI agents got members of the Wolverine Watchmen to do and say things they otherwise would never have done or said.

“The FBI obviously made this whole thing up. Without her presence, this would never have happened,” Caserta said, according to WOOD-TV.

The jury began deliberations Monday after both sides of the trial made their closing observations. They are due to make a judgment later this week. Man acquitted in alleged Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot speaks out against government narrative

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.