Defense team asks for dismissal of Whitmer kidnapping case

Defense attorneys representing the men charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have filed a motion to have the case against the defendants dismissed.

According to a Christmas Day filing, the ‘egregious’ and ‘overarching’ actions by the government and the informants it used turned "general discontent with Governor Whitmer's COVID-19 restrictions into a crime that would be prosecuted."

The defense team, which represents Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr. Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta, instead accused FBI agents of entrapment. "The facts show that there was no conspiracy."

The 20-page filing, which was submitted to the U.S. Western District court of Michigan, is the latest development of an ever-changing case that's featured drama in the background involved the government charging its own informant and dismissing a lead investigator after he was charged with domestic assault.

Allegations of entrapment against the government have slowly grown louder from defense lawyers due to new details about the extent that a government informant went to assisting the suspects with planning and preparing to kidnap the governor.

RELATED: FBI agent in Whitmer kidnap plot arrested for assaulting wife after swingers party argument

Statements provided on dozens of pages "establishes that government agents and informants concocted, hatched, and pushed this ‘kidnapping plan’ from the beginning, doing so against defendants who explicitly repudiated the plan."

At one point in the filing, defense attorneys cited a report where someone raised the idea of kidnapping before another rejected the motion. Others, including two of the men charged - Franks and Harris - echoed that sentiment. An FBI agent did confirm in testimony that some defendants had reacted negatively to the idea.

Despite the misgivings about the plan, defense lawyers say the government's informant continued to push the plan. 

"The government conceived and controlled every aspect of the alleged plot."

READ MORE: Whitmer Kidnapping Plot stories

Much of the filing circles around the involvement of Steve Robeson, the FBI informant that was a key figure in the government's efforts to infiltrate the militia groups in the state. He's since pleaded guilty after illegally purchasing a high power sniper rifle. The crime comes with a 10-year prison sentence. But Robeson instead will serve two years' probation.

It's unclear if the government still plans to call him to testify if the kidnapping case goes to trial. 

The government has so far secured one guilty plea from Ty Garbin, a Hartland man that was part of the original group of defendants that were charged. He was sentenced to just over six years in prison and fined $2,500.

The prosecution has needed to manage the fallout after Richard Trask, a former FBI lead investigator who last week pleaded no contest to assaulting his wife following an argument that stemmed from a swingers party the two had attended. 

A judge set a trial date for March 8

The motion filed by the defense can be read below.