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Lawyers reacts to Gov. Whitmer plot sentencing

A Delaware trucker described as an architect of the conspiracy to kidnap Michigan’s governor was sentenced Wednesday to more than 19 years in prison — the longest term yet given to anyone convicted in the plot. Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for Barry Croft Jr., 47, who was the fourth and final federal defendant to learn his fate. Judge Robert J. Jonker described him as “the idea guy” behind the plot and called him “a very convincing communicator” for people who were open to his views. Defense attorney Joshua Blanchard said he would appeal the sentence. Croft and Adam Fox were convicted in August of conspiracy charges in Grand Rapids. Croft also was found guilty of possessing an unregistered explosive. Fox, 39, was sentenced Tuesday to 16 years behind bars. The government also sought a life sentence for him. Both men were accused of hatching a stunning plot to abduct Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home just before the 2020 presidential election. The conspirators were furious over the tough COVID-19 restrictions that Whitmer and officials in other states had put in place during the early months of the pandemic, as well as perceived threats to gun ownership.

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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

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Lawyer: Brittney Griner Not ‘Absolutely Convinced’ USA Will Be Able to Bring Her Home | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

US' Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4 , 2022. - A Russian court found Griner guilty of smuggling and storing narcotics after prosecutors requested a sentence of nine and a half years in jail for the athlete.  (Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / POOL / AFP) (Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner is facing a nine-year prison sentence in Russia, and she is reportedly not optimistic about her chances to be freed and return home to the United States.

Griner’s lawyer recently provided an update on her condition to Valerie Hopkins and Michael Crowley of Yahoo Sports.

“She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home,” Alexander D. Boykov said. “She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.”

Boykov said Griner “has not been in as good condition as I could sometimes find her in.” The 31-year-old, who has been detained for 238 days, is allowed outside only once per day and spends the rest of her time in a small cell with two cellmates.

“She suffers a lot without her family because she hasn’t seen them for so long and it’s very difficult to talk to them in any way,” Boykov said. He stated that Griner has been unable to speak with her parents or siblings since being detained, and it’s also been very difficult to arrange phone calls with her wife, Cherelle.

A Russian court convicted Griner of drug possession charges in August after she was stopped at an airport near Moscow for carrying two vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage in February. At the time, she was on her way to play for UMMC Yekaterinburg, a Russian professional women’s basketball team she has represented during WNBA offseasons since 2014.

The United States designated Griner as “wrongfully detained” in May and has maintained that her detention and trial are politically motivated.

Per Hopkins and Crowley, US President Joe Biden said Wednesday

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Former Wethersfield attorney sentenced for $1.3 million fraud

HARTFORD — A former Wethersfield attorney was sentenced to 45 months in prison Thursday for helping defraud a would-be investor of $1.3 million, according to the US Attorney’s Office for Connecticut.

Mark Pagani, 61, of Bolton, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of tax evasion, officials said.

Pagani, in concert with another, now-deceased individual, conspired to steal the funds from the would-be investors, who believed they were acquiring mortgages on properties, including locations in Middletown and Springfield, Mass., officials said.

Pagani “drafted documents to memorialize certain investment deals, accepted funds from the victim and held the funds in accounts he controlled, and he transferred funds to entities controlled by (the deceased individual) and others,” officials said.

Defense attorney Andrew Bowman, representing Pagani, argued for a sentence of less than 30 to 37 months, contesting the level of responsibility his client bore for the failure of the investments.

Bowman also argued that Pagani should receive a lesser sentence due to his efforts to take care of his elderly in-laws, as well as his close relationship with his children and wife, who submitted testimony on his behalf.

“Mark has provided the strength to their family and extended family, which has always come first to him in sharing a positive attitude throughout this stressful period in their lives,” Bowman said. “He is the guiding light for their children and for her who look to him for strength and guidance. He spreads kindness and love to everyone who knows him.”

US Attorney Leonard Boyle, along with Assistant US Attorneys Jennifer Laraia and Michael S. McGarry, argued for a sentence of 60 months.

“While it is undisputed that Pagani was not the primary beneficiary of the fraud, Pagani should be held responsible for his

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