He told lawyers that he intends to prevent the blockbuster process from becoming a political circus, despite links to right-wing protest movements that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“I don’t want the trial to be a referendum on whether the Ottawa convoy is bad or bad, or what happened on January 6 was an uprising or a real political discourse,” said Yonker, who is on trial. former Republican President George W. Bush.

“I want to focus on what happened in this case.”

Experts say the case will test the government’s ability to fight the rise of domestic terrorism and domestic extremism. Due to the nature of the charges, Jonker said Friday he would defend the identity of the jury from the public.

Three men from Michigan – Adam Fox from Wyoming, Daniel Harris from Lake Orion and Brandon Caserta from Canton – along with Barry Croft from Delaware are accused of conspiring to “capture, limit, kidnap, kidnap and take away” Whitmer, the first term , from June to October 2020.

They confirm their innocence. Charges can sentence them to life imprisonment.

Federal authorities arrested men in October 2020, ending what they described as an inevitable conspiracy to abduct the governor, which included surveillance of her vacation home. Accused conspirators discussed plans, including Whitmer’s trials for “treason” or throw her on a boat for the disabled in Lake Michigan, according to prosecutors.

The persecution was complicated by a series missesincluding the arrest of FBI agent Richard Trask of Kalamazoo, a leading investigator in a conspiracy to kidnap a man who did not recognize the right to attack his wife last summer.

Trask has been fired and will not testify. And will not two other FBI agents involved in the investigation, which defense attorneys accused of unethical or questionable behavior, prosecutors deny the statements.

Defendants’ attorneys allege that their clients have been trapped by the FBI, persuading confidential informants and undercover agents to engage in criminal behavior. The defendants were brought to Wolverine Watchmen and related militia groups because of frustration with the government’s pandemic policy – a frustration that was perfectly legitimate, they say.

“There was no conspiracy,” defenders said in December as part of an unsuccessful attempt to close the case.

“The key to the government’s plan was to turn general dissatisfaction with Governor Whitmer’s restrictions on COVID-19 into a crime that could be prosecuted.”

Prosecutors backed their case by securing plea deals from two recognized conspirators who are expected to testify in the case.

У pleading guilty Caleb Franks of Waterford agreed that he was “not trapped or motivated to commit crimes” by any of the top confidential FBI informants who were identified only as “Dan” and “Steve”. ”

Prosecutors wrote in the plea agreement, Franks also “knows” that none of the other defendants were trapped, and may testify that for months together he had never heard any of them “say they do something, ”because informants were in favor of it.

Ty Garbin, a man with Wixom who reached a plea agreement with the federal prosecutor last year, is expected to be a “star witness” in court, his lawyer said last fall.

He received six years in prison, commutation due to his cooperation, while Franks has not yet been convicted.

In the materials on the eve of Friday’s conference, the prosecutor’s office outlined plans to introduce 412 cases as evidence for use in the trial. The list of evidence includes 111 audio recordings, 58 online chat magazines and 43 videos, including those that prosecutors say will show defendants, improvised explosive devices and weapons training, among others.

The Jonker on Friday gave prosecutors permission to bring into the courtroom 12 firearms under FBI supervision as evidence. As evidence, the prosecutor’s office also intends to present clasps, explosives, stun guns, paramilitary equipment and night vision goggles.

“Most of the evidence in this case consists of undercover audio recordings in which the defendants discuss the conspiracy,” Assistant Attorney General Niels Kessler wrote on Thursday.

Other planned exhibits include a Confederate flag, a triangular hat associated with Police movement “Three percent”. and five Hawaiian shirts, an informal uniform Boogaloo a movement whose supporters usually say they are preparing for a second civil war in America.

Prosecutors say they may call up to 48 witnesses, including additional FBI agents involved in the investigation, two undercover agents who they say infiltrated a group of militants preparing an abduction, one or more confidential sources and about a dozen civilians. witnesses who know about the plot.

The abduction trial will be the first major police case in Michigan since 2012, when a judge dismissed allegations of mutiny against members of the farm’s religious sect, and the ruling prosecutor’s office failed to prove the defendants went beyond discussing their hatred of power.

As part of their plea agreements with the federal government, both Garbin and Franks named Fox of Wyoming the head of the kidnapping conspiracy. Croft, a Delaware resident, allegedly invented explosive devices.

In a statement Thursday, Fox’s lawyer described his client as a nonviolent activist who was persuaded by at least three government informants to conspire against the abduction, which was “a binding force and a catalyst for every event, passionate speech and almost every crime proposal.”

In June 2020, in a telephone conversation with one of these FBI informants, Fox discussed the issue of “legal charges or civil arrest of the governor for exceeding the legal authority of her office,” – said his lawyer. But, according to lawyer Christopher Gibbons, it was the informant who sent the conversation to Whitmer’s vacation home.

“Like music producers looking for young, talented musicians who can be brought together to make money, each of these defendants has been selected and trained by government agents and informants for their role as a member of this conspiracy.” wrote Gibbons.

Franks, in his recent plea deal, testified that Fox offered to “attack the Capitol” at their first meeting. And he “heard Fox and his co-defendant Barry Croft initiate talks about fighting the government and kidnapping the governor without a tip,” the court said.

Daniel Harris of Lake Orion and Brendan Caserta of Canton Township allegedly participated in weapons training and planning meetings, but were left on a group observation mission at Whitmer’s rest home because “they drank” that night, according to Franco’s agreement on admission of guilt.

The FBI says Harris, a former Marine, used an encrypted chat with the other defendants to offer to kill Whitmer by asking one man to walk into the governor’s house, knock on the door, “and if she responds, just shut her up.”

Under his plea agreement, Franks first contacted members of the Wolverine Watchmen militia through a Facebook group in the spring of 2020. He then met Harris at a protest in Lake Orion, where Harris invited him to join an encrypted chat until there was a check.

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