GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The first time federal prosecutors tried to convince a jury that a group of men plotted to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, they failed to get a single conviction. But on Tuesday, jurors in a second trial found the two remaining defendants guilty, providing a measure of vindication to federal law enforcement in a case filled with public setbacks.
Prosecutors described the men, Barry Croft and Adam Fox, as threats to democracy who planned to capture Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in 2020 and instigate a national rebellion. They told jurors how the men went on “reconnaissance missions” to the home, how they accumulated high-powered guns and how they discussed blowing up a bridge to prevent the police from responding to the kidnapping.
The case was seen as indicative of the rising threat of political violence and right-wing domestic terrorism, even before the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But proving the charges in Michigan meant persuading jurors to trust a sprawling F.B.I. investigation that included several undercover federal operatives.