Marijuana smoking hangs over the Whitmer kidnapping plot trial

There’s no disputing some evidence in the trial of two men accused of burning to kidnap Michigan’s governor: They enjoyed making out.

From start to finish, the jury has repeatedly heard about marijuana in the case of Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr., who are accused of conspiring to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer as part of an anti-government uprising in 2020.

It has been cited by defense lawyers to bolster their portrayal of Fox and Croft as “big talkers” who sometimes said outrageous things while smoking. Adult use of marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2018.

A jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will hear closing arguments on Monday, when defense attorneys will likely talk about it again.

Defense attorney Joshua Blanchard set the tone shortly after jurors wrapped up Aug. 10, saying Croft was “honestly into marijuana the whole time” and was described by some as a “virtual pirate” on a three-pointer. – corner colonial hat.

The trucker’s girlfriend in Delaware confirmed Croft’s regular use of marijuana during her brief appearance on the witness stand. An investigator was asked on Friday to read aloud a text message he had sent to an informant inside the extremist group.

“A lot of pot,” said John Penrod of the Delaware State Police.

Prosecutors presented evidence of Fox saying he wanted to “tie up” Whitmer and even take her to Lake Michigan in a boat. Croft wrote on social media about hanging governors for treason.

Their lawyers argue for entrapment by government agents rather than some kind of diminished capacity defense. But Henry Scharg, a Detroit-area attorney, said the marijuana references may be an attempt to show jurors that their judgments were too clouded.

“You are in an altered state. When you say things, you don’t really mean them,” said Sarg, who is not involved in the lawsuit. “I don’t think it’s a really strong defense, but sometimes you’re looking for a jury as a judge, something to lean on. Throw it out. Maybe the fish will bite.”

Indeed, this is the second trial for Fox and Croft after a jury in April failed to reach a unanimous verdict. Two other men were acquitted, while two others pleaded guilty and testified for the government.

Fox’s attorney also mentioned marijuana when questioning witnesses about 2020 highlights.

Dan Chappell, the FBI’s most important informant in the case, recalled how he and Fox drove to Elk Rapids, Michigan, to look for Whitmer’s lakeside cottage. He said Fox had been smoking marijuana all day, even sharing with a stranger while he was checking things out at a Birch Lake boat launch.

“Adam Fox used to smoke weed in your presence, didn’t he? Almost every meeting you’ve been to, right?’ Christopher Gibbons asked.

“He was smoking, yes,” replied Chappell.

Croft, 46, is from Bear, Delaware. Fox, 39, lived in the basement of a vacuum store in the Grand Rapids area.

Prosecutors haven’t made much of their drug habits. Mark Schweers, an undercover FBI agent posing as a like-minded rebel, said he was smoking marijuana when he met with Fox and members of a paramilitary group.

“Did you use marijuana?” asked Assistant US Attorney Christopher O’Connor.

“That wouldn’t be allowed,” said Schweers, who was drinking beer instead.

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Find complete AP coverage of the kidnapping plot trial: https://apnews.com/hub/whitmer-kidnap-plot-trial

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