Whitmer kidnapping plot defense seeks to dismiss indictment
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Defense attorneys want to dismiss the indictment against five men accused of conspiring to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer over what they described as “flagrant excessive harm” by ‘Federal agents and informants, according to a court file.
In the 20-page petition, which was filed Saturday night, defense attorneys allege that FBI agents and federal prosecutors invented a conspiracy and set up people who could face life in prison. They are asking U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to dismiss the conspiracy charge, which would effectively overturn the federal government case and other related charges, according to The Detroit News.
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The request comes after developments and claims about the government team, including the conviction of Richard Trask, an FBI special agent who was arrested for domestic violence, then fired and convicted of a felony.
Trask has been accused of slamming his wife’s head against a nightstand and strangling her after an argument over their participation in a swinger party in July.
Defense attorneys used Trask’s conduct to question other FBI agents working on the case, initially calling for a 90-day delay in the trial to investigate their behavior as well.
Prosecutors also transferred Trask to a witness in court proceedings, citing previous social media articles that criticized former President Donald Trump.
“Essentially, the evidence here demonstrates a blatant overshoot on the part of the government agents and informants these agents dealt with,” the defense attorneys wrote. “When the government was confronted with evidence showing that the defendants had no interest in a kidnapping plot, it refused to accept the failure and continued to advance its plan.”
Five people are charged with conspiracy to kidnap and will be tried on March 8 in Grand Rapids. They have pleaded not guilty and claim to be the victims of entrapment.
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Federal prosecutors argued the men were not trapped. The government alleged the men were upset by the coronavirus restrictions when they conspired to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, even searching for her second home in northern Michigan. Messages left with the U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Michigan and the U.S. Department of Justice on Sunday were not immediately returned.
In January, a sixth man, Ty Garbin, 26, pleaded guilty and is serving a six-year federal prison sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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