Whitmer Kidnap Plot Ringleader Sentenced To 16 Years In Prison

Adam Fox, one of two men convicted for spearheading the plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, was sentenced today to serve 16 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker of the Western District of Michigan.

Mr. Jonker at a hearing today in Grand Rapids said that the life sentence recommended by federal prosecutors was too heavy a sentence and that a sentence less than life was appropriate in the case.

Federal prosecutors had asserted that the court should send a clear message of just how serious a sentence is warranted for Mr. Fox, who along with convicted co-conspirator Barry Croft planned and moved close to executing an operation to kidnap the governor from her Elk Rapids vacation home in the fall of 2020 – just before the presidential election and at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Kessler added that the evidence introduced at trial in USA v. Fox established that Mr. Fox was motivated by a desire to retaliate against the government for various actions which led to the recruitment of several individuals that broke off from the Wolverine Watchmen militia group, transforming themselves into would-be domestic terrorists while concocting the plot.

Mr. Fox’s attorneys had argued for a lighter sentence because life in prison over-represented the seriousness of his past criminal conduct and the likelihood of reoffending.

Mr. Jonker at the hearing today, however, noted that while the charges and eventual conviction were serious, a long sentence was sufficient and that a life sentence was not necessary to convey the consequences of Mr. Fox’s crimes.

In a statement following the sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division said that Mr. Fox and his confederate in Mr. Croft had masterminded a plot that targeted both the governor and law enforcement. He added that “today’s sentence reflects the Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to protecting our elected officials, law enforcement officers, and dedicated public servants from criminal threats and violence – and to holding the perpetrators of such acts fully accountable under the law.”

Former U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge also said in a statement that responding to domestic terror plots like the one concocted by Mr. Fox and Mr. Croft has been a central tenet of the department since its founding and that it continued that mission throughout its investigation into the plot against Ms. Whitmer.

“Rest assured, we will spare no effort to disrupt plots like these and hold those responsible accountable to the law,” Mr. Birge said.

Additionally, Mr. Jonker ordered Mr. Fox to five years of supervised release following incarceration.

In a statement, Attorney General Dana Nessel said that the sentence “sends a clear message that domestic terrorism will not be tolerated.”

“Adam Fox’s actions undermined the security of every Michigan resident,” the attorney general said. “I remain deeply grateful to Judge Jonker, the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the Michigan State Police and every person who worked together to ensure justice was served.”

Mr. Croft is to be sentenced before Mr. Jonker at a hearing tomorrow morning.

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