Whitmer kidnapping juror denies saying, ‘These guys are going to hang,’ transcript shows

A juror in the kidnapping trial of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spent seven minutes in the judge’s courtroom answering questions about allegedly telling fellow jurors that the juror would make sure “there’s a guilty verdict” if selected to serve on the jury, or saying “those guys they are going to be hanged, or words to that effect,” according to a transcript of the private interview between the juror and the judge.

“So I can see the confused look on your face,” the judge said during the interview. “Do you remember at any time making such statements?”

“None,” replied the juror.

“Just don’t believe it ever came up,” the judge continued.

“None,” replied the juror.

This combination of images is provided by the Kent County, Mich., Jail. shows Adam Fox (left) and Barry Croft Jr.

What did the judge ask the jury

The transcript filing offers a detailed look at the seven-minute conversation the judge had with the juror during a private interview in his chambers after a tipster claimed the juror hoped to be selected for the jury and wanted to convict Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. from beginning.

The transcript redacted the juror’s identity but noted that the juror had a “bewildered look” when the judge told the person — it is not known whether the juror is male or female — about an allegation of misconduct made by a colleague.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker told the jury that an allegation had been made that the juror told a colleague that he hoped to be selected for the Whitmer jury to make sure the defendants were found guilty or that “these guys are going to hang up, words for that,” said the judge.

More:Jury convicts Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr. in Whitmer kidnapping plot

More:How 3 controversial jurors end up in the Whitmer kidnapping jury box

Jonker asked if the juror remembered making such a statement at work or if someone could have overheard it.

“None,” the juror replied, adding… “I just said I have jury duty… I didn’t even know what the case was until I got here Tuesday morning when I glanced at a TV and saw the news cameras outside here, and I say, ‘I think I know what case it is… But I didn’t tell anybody what case. I just said, ‘I had jury duty.'”

The judge then asked: “From your point of view, there is no reason to understand why anyone would have heard, overheard or thought someone else heard you say such a thing?”

“Yes,” replied the juror.

“Okay. And there’s no doubting your ability to be fair from your point of view,” the judge continued.

“Right,” replied the juror.

The judge added: “This is uncomfortable for obvious reasons because now you really feel like you’ve been called into the headmaster’s office,” later saying, “I can say you’re satisfied to be able to continue” to be fair, “and you don’t think that those things were said, or you can’t even fathom why anyone would think they heard you say that.”

Jonker dismissed the juror, asking that the courtroom conversation not be shared with other jurors.

“That would not be something I would want to talk about or have discussed among other jurors on the case either. Do you understand that?”

“Right,” replied the juror.

In this artist's rendering, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker looks on from the bench as Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth delivers opening statements in the first trial of men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

In this artist’s rendering, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker looks on from the bench as Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth delivers opening statements in the first trial of men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The judge then asked the juror if anything he said “makes you in any way uncomfortable about continuing” to serve on the jury.

“No,” the juror replied, ending the interview.

The defense, meanwhile, expressed concern in a court filing, arguing that the interview should never have been private and that the defense should have been allowed to participate in it.

The judge disagreed and allowed the juror to remain on the panel, concluding that there was no evidence of bias, only hearsay.

The tip came from a second-hand source — and the person who allegedly heard the juror say those things declined to be identified or come forward.

Fox and Croft, who will be sentenced separately in December, were convicted of conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to possess weapons of mass destruction. Croft was convicted of an additional weapons charge.

The men were tried by a second, more diverse jury than in a trial last spring, which ended without convictions for the government. Two men were acquitted in that trial, and the jury deadlocked on the charges against Fox and Croft Jr., sparking a mistrial that prompted the government to try again. Two others pleaded guilty to federal crimes in the case, and others are charged in a separate state case.

Contact Tresa Baldas: tbaldas@freepreeson.com

This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Kidnapping juror Whitmer denies saying, ‘These guys will be hanged’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *