Man Receives Nearly 20 Years in Prison for Plot to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

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Mr. Croft “wanted to do more than kidnap the governor of Michigan, or even kill her,” prosecutors said in their sentencing memo. “He said, ‘I can’t wait for war to come to this land,’ and meant it. Only a life sentence can adequately address Croft’s crimes and deter him and others from pursuing such apocalyptic visions for our country.”

Mr. Croft’s lawyer, Joshua Blanchard, asked Judge Jonker for a shorter sentence. In his sentencing memo, Mr. Blanchard said his client was a devoted father with a history of mental illness and drug use. He also stressed that Mr. Croft, 47, did not attend some training sessions and was not involved in some of the chat groups through which others discussed attack plans.

“Mr. Croft’s life shows that he is not a lost cause and, if equipped with the right tools, can return to live a productive, law-abiding life,” Mr. Blanchard wrote.

The Justice Department vowed this week to continue prosecuting domestic terror cases, and Judge Jonker said he believed that federal law enforcement should be praised for how agents had investigated the plot against the governor.

Still, the government faced repeated setbacks in the Michigan case. One F.B.I. agent on the case was fired last year after being charged with domestic violence, and another agent, who supervised a key informant, tried to build a private security consulting firm based in part on some of his work for the F.B.I., according to BuzzFeed News. During an initial trial this year, jurors acquitted two men and failed to reach a verdict for Mr. Croft and another defendant, Adam Fox.

Both Mr. Croft and Mr. Fox were convicted at a second trial. Mr. Fox was sentenced on Tuesday to 16 years in prison, far below the life term prosecutors wanted. Two other men, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, pleaded guilty to kidnapping conspiracy and testified against Mr. Fox and Mr. Croft. Mr. Garbin was sentenced to 30 months in prison, and Mr. Franks was sentenced to four years.

In October, three others connected to the plot were convicted in state court of providing support for terrorist acts. They received sentences that could keep them in prison for at least seven years and up to 20. Five more men charged in state court are awaiting trial.