DETROIT (FOX 2) - After a federal jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has found two suspects in the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer not guilty and a mistrial was declared for the other two suspects, Whitmer issued a statement saying that ‘political violence’ is being normalized.
The jury reached the verdict around 2 p.m. on Friday for Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta of not guilty on all charges. Both been had been charged with kidnapping conspiracy while Harris was also charged with multiple crimes.
The two most serious charges, kidnapping conspiracy and conspiracy to use explosives, both carry potential life sentences. The jury acquitted both Harris and Caserta on all charges but could not return a verdict for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr.
Shortly after the verdict, Whitmer's Chief of Staff JoAnne Huls, issued a statement saying that the trial is normalizing political violence:
"Today, Michiganders and Americans—especially our children—are living through the normalization of political violence. The plot to kidnap and kill a governor may seem like an anomaly. But we must be honest about what it really is: the result of violent, divisive rhetoric that is all too common across our country. There must be accountability and consequences for those who commit heinous crimes. Without accountability, extremists will be emboldened," the statement read. "The governor remains focused on her work on behalf of Michigan and all Michiganders. That includes addressing violence and threats to our democracy. We appreciate the prosecutors and law enforcement officers for their work on this case."
Following the verdict, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge spoke briefly, expressing disappointment in the verdict.
"Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome," Birge said. "We still believe in the jury system."
Defense attorneys portrayed their clients as credulous weekend warriors prone to big, wild talk, who were often stoned. They said FBI undercover agents and informants tricked and cajoled the men into agreeing to a conspiracy.
Fox's attorney, Christopher Gibbins said they'll be ready for a second trial on the same charges, if that's what the U.S. Prosecutor decides to do.
"We’re ready to go," Gibbins said. "Adam is disappointed that he’s going to be detained a bit longer, but we’re waiting for a second trial, and we’ll eventually get what we want again out of this, which is the truth and the justice. I expected something to happen and something did happen, kind of, for my client"