GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a new plea from two men convicted of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.

Attorneys for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. alleged juror misconduct and unfairness at the hands of U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker after their conviction by a federal jury in August.

Yonker, in a written ruling Friday, dismissed claims of juror misconduct and said he found “no constitutional violation and clear evidence” to warrant a new hearing.

Fox and Croft face life in prison on December 28.

Whitmer, who was re-elected Nov. 8 to a second term, was never physically harmed during the plot, which led to more than a dozen arrests in 2020.

Fox and Croft’s first trial ended in a mistrial earlier this year when a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. Motion for a third hearing was filed in September.

Defense lawyers said a juror in the second trial was described by a colleague as “extremely left-leaning” who was eager to get on the jury and was willing to find guilty before hearing the evidence.

A defense investigator said he interviewed two colleagues who said they had heard about it but had no first-hand knowledge. The third man refused to talk to him in the parking lot.

The first charge was brought at the beginning of the second trial. Yonker said he spoke privately with the juror, who denied that the conviction vote had already been decided.

Separately, the attorneys said the judge violated Fox and Croft’s rights by imposing a time limit on cross-examining a star government witness.

“Defendants have demonstrated neither that the jury’s verdict was “contrary to the clear weight of the evidence,” nor that “a material error of law occurred,” such that the interests of justice require a new trial,” Yonker wrote in Friday’s ruling.

Croft is originally from Bear, Delaware. Fox lived in the Grand Rapids area of ​​western Michigan.

Two other men pleaded guilty in the federal case, and two others were acquitted.

Three other men charged with supporting terrorism in the kidnapping plot were sentenced in October in state court.

Joe Morrison; Morrison’s father-in-law, Pete Music; and Paul Bellard were found guilty of providing “material support” to an act of terrorism as members of a group known as the Wolverine Watchmen. They are awaiting sentencing on December 15.

They conducted gun practice in rural Jackson County with Fox, who was disgusted by Whitmer and other officials and said he wanted to capture her.

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