One of the lead prosecutors in the case centered on an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer withdrew from the matter days after two defendants were acquitted. A mistrial was declared for two others when a jury could not reach a decision.
In a Tuesday court filing, Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Roth informed the court that he was stepping down from the case, local WZZM reported. He and his office declined to provide a reason.
MICHIGAN GOV. WHITMER KIDNAPPING PLOT: 2 MEN ACQUITTED, JURY DEADLOCKED ON 2 OTHERS
“We do not have any comment on our staffing of cases in this office,” a spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office told the outlet.
Roth had delivered the opening statement in the case against Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta. In that statement, he alleged that the four defendants recruited others in a plot to break into the governor’s home, tie her up, and abduct her.
Roth told the jury that the four men were looking to create a “war zone here in Michigan.”
On April 8, the jury announced that they had found Harris and Caserta not guilty, but they could not reach a verdict for Fox or Croft. While federal prosecutors indicated that they were interested in pursuing a second trial for Fox and Croft, they have yet to file a notice with the court.
The trial lasted over 20 days. Prosecutors said the defendants turned their anger toward the government in 2020 into a plot to kidnap Whitmer because of the restrictions she imposed during the early months of the pandemic.
Defense lawyers claimed informants and undercover agents improperly influenced the men. Federal prosecutors countered the argument with evidence that the men discussed abducting Whitmer before the FBI sting began and that they went beyond talk. They scouted Whitmer’s summer home and tested explosives, they said.
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One man, upset over state-ordered coronavirus restrictions, was sentenced to just over six years in prison last year after admitting to involvement in the plot – a significant break that reflected his quick decision to cooperate and help agents build cases against others.
Ty Garbin admitted his role in the alleged scheme weeks after his arrest last fall. He is among six men who was charged in federal court but the only one to plead guilty so far.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and Timothy Nerozzi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.