Lawyer for Whitmer kidnap plot leader Adam Fox argues against life sentence

The attorney for Adam Fox, the 39-year-old adam-fox-barry-croft-jr/7873790001/” data-ylk=”slk:convicted of conspiring in 2020 to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer” class=”link “>convicted of conspiring in 2020 to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmerhas asked a federal judge to go against prosecutor wishes and not hand Fox a life sentence later this month.

Earlier in December, prosecutors asked US District Judge Robert Jonker to issue a life sentence to Fox, of Potterville. Throughout the trial, the government lawyers argued the case painted Fox as the ringleader of the conspiracy.

In a court filing Friday, Fox attorney Christopher Gibbons argued his client should not get a life sentence, echoing many of the same arguments used in both trials: Fox was a follower, not a leader, and looked up to FBI informants and undercover agents who accompanied Fox and others during training sessions and reconnaissance of the governor’s vacation home near Traverse City.

Adam Fox is shown in this image provided by the Kent County, Mich., Jail.

Adam Fox is shown in this image provided by the Kent County, Mich., Jail.

Is Adam Fox a leader or an angry unemployed vacuum repairman?

“(T) the Government in its memorandum employs exaggerated language to create the false narrative of a terrifying paramilitary leader,” Gibbons wrote. “Adam Fox is described as creating an army with a cadre of operators. … These histrionic descriptions of Adam Fox do not rationally address his actual conduct and they do not accurately reflect either his actual intentions or his actual capabilities.

“Adam Fox was an unemployed vacuum repairman who was venting his frustrations on social media but abiding by the laws of the State of Michigan. Adam Fox is not the leader of a multistate ‘army’ of domestic terrorists.”

US Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nils Kessler, who argued both trials for the government, wrote in a pre-sentence memorandum Fox was a “willing and able operations leader.”

“This was no ‘run of the mill’ kidnapping plot,” Kessler wrote. “He targeted not just any victim, but an official victim; and not just any official, but the head of a state. He was no follower; he was an active recruiter and prime mover.”

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Recap of the Whitmer kidnap plot case

In addition to the kidnapping conspiracy charge, Fox is also charged with attempting to obtain a weapon of mass destruction. He has been in prison since October 2020, when he and others were arrested in an FBI sting where the group believed it was placing a down payment on explosives and picking up free military gear.

Fox and Barry Croft Jr., of Bear, Delaware, were both found guilty by a jury in August at the conclusion of the second trial in the landmark domestic terrorism case. Two others pleaded guilty to charges, while two other men, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, were found not guilty in a separate trial in April. The first trial resulted in hung judges for both Fox and Croft.

The kidnapping plot was launched in large part to frustration with COVID-19 restrictions ordered by Whitmer at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, evidence entered in the trials showed. The FBI became aware of the plot after a militia member sought out the police over concerns over threats to law enforcement.

Fox’s sentencing was originally slated for Monday, but was rescheduled to Dec. 27, to more closely match the sentencing timeline of Croft, whose sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 28.

Jonker, in November, denied appeals from Fox and Croft’s attorneys seeking another trial.

Both men face up to life in prison.

In a separate state trial, three other men were found guilty of providing support for a terrorist act for their roles in the plot in late October. Earlier this month, five other men were ordered to stand trial for similar charges in the plot.

Contact Arpan Lobo: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @arpanlobo.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Lawyer for Adam Fox in Whitmer kidnap plot asks for lighter sentence

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