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Men convicted of conspiring to kidnap Whitmer ask for retrial

Carole Kabrin
For Michigan Radio

Two men are asking a federal judge for a retrial after being convicted of conspiring to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Attorneys for Adam Fox and Barry Croft say one of the jurors in the case was biased against them.

The allegation first came up during the trial last month, but Robert Jonker, the federal judge overseeing the case said he investigated and decided the juror could be fair.

An order issued by Jonker, and unsealed after the verdict, said that court staff had looked into the claim that the juror had already decided on a guilty verdict, and found it was from a second-hand account from a work colleague who hadn’t spoken to the juror.

When Jonker questioned the juror directly about the comments, the juror denied saying anything about the case to coworkers.

Jonker told the juror the allegation was that the juror had said “These guys are going to hang, or words to that effect,” according to a transcript of the discussion published by the court.

“[D]o you remember making statements like that at any time?” Jonker asked. “None,” the juror responded.

“Just don’t believe that ever came up?”

“None,” the juror repeated, according to the transcript.

Attorneys for both Fox and Croft filed their motion for a retrial on Tuesday. The contents of the motion are sealed from public view, but the court’s docket shows the filing contains a statement from Gary Gaudard, an investigator who works for the defense attorneys.

Attorneys filed their motion for retrial under Rule 33 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, which provides for the possibility of a verdict to be thrown out based on “newly discovered evidence.”

The attorneys have first asked for a hearing on their motion to present evidence of juror bias.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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