Two men convicted in August for their role in the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were denied a new trial Friday in an order from Judge Robert Jonker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. A jury convicted Adam Fox and Barry Croft of conspiracy in an August retrial following a mistrial in April. In his ruling, the Court found there was insufficient evidence to pursue allegations of juror bias or to convene a new trial.
Lawyers for Croft and Fox claimed there was juror bias and that Jonker unfairly targeted the defendants while presiding over the second trial. In his opinion Friday, Jonker disputed these allegations, pointing to the court record and declaring his actions did not arise to the level of judicial bias.
“Neither the authority nor the facts cited by Defendants establish the appearance of judicial bias requiring a new trial,” the opinion read. “The Court was quick to express frustration with both parties when it believed the party was wasting the jury’s time unnecessarily; the Court did not single out the defense.”
The first trial took place in April, nearly two years after the plot was uncovered and during that trial, the jury convicted two of the other conspirators in the plot. They were unable to come to a unanimous verdict for Croft and Fox, however, resulting in a mistrial. The Attorney General continued to press charges, so the pair were tried again in August. During the second trial, Fox and Croft were convicted of conspiracy and conspiring to obtain and use weapons of mass destruction.
In their request for a third trial, attorneys for Fox and Croft reiterate allegations made in the second trial that a juror in the second trial was eager to be on the jury because they were “far left leaning.” In the opinion, Jonker dismissed these allegations as insufficient to warrant a new hearing.
“The only supporting affidavit provided is that of a defense investigator, reporting more secondhand conversations,” Jonker wrote. “That hardly amounts to credible evidence.”
Fox and Croft will face sentencing on Dec. 28.
Daily Staff Reporter Isabella Kassa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.