2 men convicted in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot seek new trial
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Lawyers for two men convicted of conspiring to kidnap Michigan’s governor are asking for a new trial, alleging misconduct by a juror and unfairness by the judge.
The court filing, unsealed Thursday, reveals an aggressive effort to learn more about a juror, even sending a private investigator to the juror’s workplace on Aug. 23, the same day that Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. were found guilty.
Defense lawyers say the juror, described by a co-worker as “far-left leaning,” was eager to get on the jury and poised to convict before hearing evidence.
The defense team’s investigator, Gary Gaudard, said he interviewed two co-workers who said they had heard about it but had no firsthand knowledge. A third person declined to speak to him in the parking lot.
The allegation first was raised early in the trial. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker said he spoke privately to the juror who denied saying that a vote to convict was already settled. The juror’s name and gender have not been publicly disclosed.
Separately, defense lawyers said the judge violated the rights of Fox and Croft by imposing a time limit on the cross-examination of a star government witness.
“Here, throughout the trial, the court showed hostility toward defense counsel,” Joshua Blanchard and Christopher Gibbons wrote. “The court often commented on the quality of the questioning of defense counsel and the persuasiveness of the arguments it believed would flow from the questioning.”
Prosecutors have 14 days to respond.
Croft, 46, is from Bear, Delaware. Fox, 39, lived in the Grand Rapids area in western Michigan.