Marijuana smoking hangs over Whitmer kidnapping trial

Marijuana smoking hangs over Whitmer kidnapping trial

There’s no controversy over some evidence in the trial of two men accused of wanting to kidnap the governor of Michigan: they liked to get high.

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

He was cited by defense attorneys to bolster his description of Fox and Croft as “big talkers” who sometimes said outrageous things when they were smoking pot. Adult marijuana use 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 settled into the box on Aug. 10, saying that Croft was “downright high on weed the entire time” and was described by some as a “crazy pot pirate” in a trio. – colonial corner hat.

The Delaware truck driver’s girlfriend confirmed Croft’s regular marijuana use during his brief appearance in the witness chair. On Friday, an investigator was asked to read aloud a text message he had sent to an informant who was inside the extremist group.

“Too much marijuana,” 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 on a boat. Croft wrote on social media about hanging governors for treason.

His lawyers are arguing for imprisonment by government agents, not some sort of reduced-capacity defense. But Henry Scharg, a Detroit-area attorney, said the marijuana references could be an effort to show the jury that his trials were too nebulous.

“You are in an altered state. When you say things, you don’t really mean it,” said Scharg, who was not involved in the trial. “I don’t think it’s a very strong defense, but sometimes you’re looking for a juror as a resistance, something to support your position. Throw away. Maybe the fish will bite.”

In fact, this is Fox and Croft’s second trial after a jury in April failed to reach a unanimous verdict. Two other men were acquitted, while two others pleaded guilty and testified on behalf of the government.

Fox’s attorney also referred to marijuana when questioning witnesses about key moments in 2020.

Dan Chappel, the FBI’s most senior informant in the case, recalled how he and Fox went to Elk Rapids, Michigan, to explore Whitmer’s lakeside vacation home. He said Fox smoked weed all day, even sharing it with a stranger while weighing things up on a boat speedboat in Birch Lake.

“Adam Fox routinely smoked weed in your presence, didn’t he? In almost every meeting you’ve been to, correct?” asked Christopher Gibbons.

“He did smoke,” Chappel replied.

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

Prosecutors didn’t place much value on his drug habits. Mark Schweers, an undercover FBI agent who posed as a like-minded rebel, said marijuana was smoked when she met with Fox and members of a paramilitary group.

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

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


Find AP’s full coverage of the kidnapping plot trial:


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