A federal judge in Michigan has ordered a new trial for two men accused in the summer 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The order for a new trial comes Thursday, three months after jurors failed to deliver a verdict for Grand Rapids, Michigan, resident Adam Fox, 39, and Delaware trucker Barry Croft, 46, The Detroit News reported.
"A rational jury, in my view, could still rule against Mr. Fox, rule against Mr. Croft," Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker ruled Thursday. "We will need to have another jury weigh the evidence."
A new trial will start "as soon as we can," Jonker added, and a tentative trial date was set for Aug. 9. It is expected the trial would last a couple of weeks.
Two of Fox and Croft's alleged co-conspirators were found not guilty, while another two, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, both pleaded guilty and testified for the government.
The FBI's alleged involvement in the case has had defense attorneys arguing entrapment. One FBI informant involved, Stephen Robeson, was indicted on a gun crime, according to the report.
Jonker rejected defense attorneys' request for a dismissal, saying there was no legal basis for that.
"I completely understand the practical forces of that argument," Jonker said, the News reported. "The law doesn't support the practical urge."
Lake Orion, Michigan's Daniel Harris, 24, and Canton Township's Brandon Caserta, 34, were acquitted in the alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer.
"The evidence presented at trial, even when viewed in the light most favorable to the government, did not establish that there was an agreement between Adam Fox and any of the other defendants to kidnap the governor or to purchase and use a 'weapon of mass destruction' in furtherance of that kidnapping," Fox's lawyer Christopher Gibbons wrote in a late April court filing. "A government agent or informant cannot be a conspirator."
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