Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Kidnapping Conspiracy Ringleader Sentenced to 19.5 Years in Jail
A man convicted of playing a key role in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been sentenced to 19 1/2 years in prison Wednesday, more than was assigned to the co-defendant.
The prosecutor called 47-year-old Barry Croft Jr. the American version of Omar Abdel-Rahman. “The Blind Sheik” who orchestrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Croft and 39-year-old co-defendant Adam Fox were convicted in August of conspiring to commit kidnapping and using weapons of mass destruction to attack Whitmer, who drew hatred from far-right groups for her efforts to curb the spread of Covid in the US. 2020.
Fox was sentenced to 192 months (16 years) in prison on Tuesday by US District Judge Robert Jonker, setting the stage for Croft’s fate and a 235-month sentence.
“I do find Mr. Croft more guilty…more than even Mr. Fox,” Jonker said. “I think he was the person who gave Mr. Fox something to hang on to.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said it was necessary for Croft to leave for an extended period of time to protect the public.
“This man is completely radicalized,” Kessler said. “He has not changed his point of view.”
Kessler said Croft was no less dangerous than a foreign terrorist bent on harming Americans.
“He is the spiritual leader of this group, of this movement, like some sheikh in ISIS or al-Qaeda could be,” Kessler said. “And they don’t have to be tactically savvy or someone who’s the best with weapons on the battlefield – he was an idea guy.”
Defense attorney Josh Blanchard begged Jonker to take a look at his client’s long history with mental illness and drug abuse. The lawyer seemed to be holding back his emotions as he described Croft’s unstable childhood.
“His mother suffered from bipolar disorder, which was so severe and out of control that she received a Social Security disability for it,” Blanchard said.
“His father, who is described as cold and aloof, puts aluminum foil on the ceiling of his bedroom to prevent aliens from getting to his brain waves. I say all this to say that Mr. Croft needs some kind of intervention.”
In April, the jury failed to reach verdicts against Fox and Croft, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial before the trial. the second test was decisive.
Whitmer, who won re-election last month, was the center of fury on the far right in 2020 as she imposed various lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of Covid.
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