2 accused in plot against Whitmer found not guilty -- What happens next?

2 accused in plot against Whitmer found not guilty -- What happens next?
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 10:27 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A jury on Friday acquitted two men of all charges in a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer but couldn’t reach verdicts against the two alleged leaders.

Read: Whitmer kidnap plot: 2 men acquitted, hung jury for 2 more

24-year-old Daniel Harris and 33-year-old Brandon Caserta were found not guilty after spending 18 months in jail.

The jury could not reach verdicts for 38-year-old Adam Fox and 46-year-old Barry Croft Jr. The prosecutor said there will be another trial and the two will remain behind bars.

Related: Gov. Whitmer’s Office releases statement on trial outcome

Fox’s attorney has argued that Fox never planned on actually kidnapping Whitmer, but was just a big talker. He said they’re ready for the next trial.

“Well, for Adam Fox, the presumption of innocence continues which is a good thing. I think the trial here has demonstrated that there are some serious shortcomings in this case,” said attorney Christopher Gibbons. “Obviously, with acquittals occurring with Mr. Caserta and Mr. Harris, it says a lot about what’s going on with the case and the proofs and we’re ready to go.”

When will Fox and Croft return to the courtroom and how does the process move forward? It’s unclear. A former public defender said it’s not surprising Fox and Croft will be retried and as far as the next steps -- it’s unpredictable.

Tonya Krause-Phelan is a former criminal defense practitioner who currently works as a professor at Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School. She said one of the more curious parts of the trial was watching the jurors.

“As we watched the jurors deliberate, one of the things they asked the court for was Post-it notes and paper clips. That was an indication to me that they were they were trying to organize the evidence,” Krause-Phelan said. “What that means is we won’t know unless they tell us. It might be that they were trying to figure out what evidence applied to what crime or what evidence applied to which defendant. Or they may have been trying to piece together that timeline of who did what when?”

After five days of deliberations, the jury informed the court they were deadlocked on some counts and could not reach a verdict for Fox and Croft.

“It’s going to be interesting to watch when we can expect to have this case start up again and to see how it progresses in the retrial,” Krause-Phelan said.

Background: Complete coverage of the Whitmer kidnapping plot trials

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