Barry Croft Jr., left, and Adam Fox

This combo of images provided by the Kent County Jail in Michigan shows Barry Croft Jr., left, and Adam Fox, both convicted Tuesday, August 23, 2022 for their role in the 2020 plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (Photo: Courtesy of Kent County Sheriff's Office)

Conviction of Whitmer Kidnap Plotters Called Win in Battle Against Far-Right Extremists

One progressive leader in the state called the verdicts "a good start in our ongoing battle against right-wing extremist political violence, but it is just that: a start."

Progressives in Michigan on Tuesday heralded the conviction of two men over their part in the 2020 plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, calling the guilty verdicts a welcome beginning in terms of holding far-right extremists to account for political violence.

Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. were both convicted by a jury Tuesday for the foiled plot to kidnap Whitmer that included plans to blow up a bridge. The two men were also convicted of weapons charges that stemmed from the violent scheme.

According to the Associated Press:

It was the second trial for the pair after a jury in April couldn't reach a unanimous verdict after five days. Two other men were acquitted and two more pleaded guilty and testified for prosecutors.

The result was a big win for the U.S. Justice Department following the shocking mixed outcome last spring.

Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, said the verdicts against Fox and Croft represent "a good start in our ongoing battle against right-wing extremist political violence, but it is just that: a start."

In his closing argument of the trial on Monday, prosecutor Nils Kessler said the two "wanted to set off a second American Civil War and the second American Revolution" by kidnapping Whitmer, a Democrat who they viewed as a political enemy.

In a statement, Gov. Whitmer welcomed the outcome.

"Today's verdicts prove that violence and threats have no place in our politics and those who seek to divide us will be held accountable," Whitmer said.

While such violent efforts "will not succeed," she added, "we must also take a hard look at the status of our politics. Plots against public officials and threats to the FBI are a disturbing extension of radicalized domestic terrorism that festers in our nation, threatening the very foundation of our republic."

Scott said the verdict does not erase how deep the far-right threat runs in Michigan and within the Republican Party.

"The political environment that resulted in this plot has not changed in the years since it was hatched," he said. "We must examine how the Michigan Republican Party continues to not only cozy up to right-wing militias and extremists, but also welcomes extremists and conspiracy theorists into the leadership of their party and nominates them as candidates to lead our state."

"We must hold Republicans accountable for their hate-inspiring messaging and continue to root out the right-wing extremism poisoning our state before it leads to more extremist violence," Scott added. "In short, today justice was served, but the work continues."

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