One of the ringleaders of a plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and blow up a bridge to aid in their escape was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Tuesday — instead of the life term prosecutors had been seeking.
Adam Fox learned his fate in Grand Rapids federal court four months after he and Barry Croft were convicted on charges of conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Croft was also convicted in August of possessing an unregistered destructive device.
Two others alleged to be involved were acquitted in April by a federal jury that also couldn’t reach a verdict on Fox and Croft, leading to a mistrial for the pair.
Two other conspirators pleaded guilty in earlier trials.
Prosecutors asked US District Judge Richard Jonker to hand down a life sentence, describing the 39-year-old Fox as the “driving force urging their recruits to take up arms, kidnap the governor and kill those who stood in their way,” and noting Croft’s lethal bomb-making skills.
“When the aim of that kidnapping is to terrorize the people and affect the conduct of government, it is so pernicious that only the most serious sanction is sufficient,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote in a court filing, according to the Detroit News.
“The sentence imposed by this court should reflect the incredibly dangerous threat posed by Adam Fox and Barry Croft’s attempt to light the fire of a second revolution.”
Croft will be sentenced on Wednesday.
Jonker said Fox’s sentencing needed to reflect the need for punishment and to deter other such acts, but said the prosecution’s life sentence request was “not necessary to achieve those purposes.”
“It’s too much. Something less than life gets the job done in this case,” the judge said, adding that 16 years in prison “is still in my mind a very long time.”
Fox will also have to serve five years of supervised release.
The men were part of a paramilitary group known as the Wolverine Watchmen who in 2020 hatched a plot to kidnap Whitmer, now 51, at her vacation home because they were angry over her statewide COVID-19 restrictions.
“People need to stop with the misplaced anger and place the anger where it should go, and that’s against our tyrannical … government,” Fox said that spring.
But FBI informants inside the group thwarted the plot, and Whitmer was not physically harmed.
Fox’s lawyer, Christopher Gibbons, has rejected claims that his client was a revolutionary leader, describing him as an “unemployed vacuum repairman who was venting his frustrations on social media.”
Attorneys for Fox and Croft plan to seek a third trial.
With Post wires
The post Co-leader of plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gets 16 years appeared first on New York Post.