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5 men accused of Whitmer kidnapping plot want to delay trial

Scales of Justice photo
Tim Evanson via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0

Five men accused of planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year because of her COVID-19 restrictions want to postpone their October trial until 2022. Attorneys said in a court filing that they’re still plowing through hours of audio secretly recorded by informants and FBI agents. They’re also “investigating recent developments” related to the conduct of agents.

“It will be difficult to complete this investigation before the scheduled trial date,” the attorneys said Wednesday.

Trial in federal court in Grand Rapids has been set for Oct. 12. The defendants would like a 90-day extension for all key dates in the case. Prosecutors must respond next week.

The government said the five men conspired to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, even scouting her second home in northern Michigan. They’ve pleaded not guilty and claim to be victims of entrapment.

The government’s case has been bolstered by the guilty plea of a sixth man, Ty Garbin, who is expected to be a star witness at trial. He was recently sentenced to slightly more than six years in prison, a significant break.

Separately Thursday, Barry Croft Jr. lost a request to stop the government from using his tricorn hat and cipher as evidence. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker said they were “reasonably seized” under a court-approved search warrant. Ciphers are used to keep communications secret.

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