Shh! Attempted Whitmer Kidnapping Suspect Doesn't Want You To Know God Told Him To Do It!

Crime

Back in October, several men, many of them militia members, were arrested for their parts in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, allegedly to put her on "trial" for doing tyranny to the state of Michigan by enacting restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

One of those men was Barry Croft Jr.

Croft, a 45-year-old truck driver out of Bear, Delaware, was the official bombmaker of the group, and clearly felt very strongly about not allowing Whitmer to do anything to stop the spread of COVID-19, until he was imprisoned himself and really wanted to be let out for fear he would catch the virus in jail.


Via Detroit News:

Prosecutors portray Croft as a ringleader, writing "he was the prime mover behind the group's construction, testing and detonation of weapons of mass destruction," Kessler wrote. The prosecutor also cited evidence revealed during bond hearings in October.

"Evidence adduced at those hearings established that Croft conspired with the other defendants to kidnap the governor ... brought materials for an improvised explosive device to a training exercise ... participated in the nighttime surveillance of the governor's home ... stopped to inspect a bridge along the way that he planned to bomb ... and detonated a second test bomb with shrapnel for use in the plot," Kessler wrote.

Croft's worry now, reportedly, is not that he might be required to wear a face mask in the grocery store to prevent someone else from getting COVID-19, or even that he will contract it himself. Instead, he's moved on to worrying that people might find out that "God" actually gave him permission to violate the Ten Commandments to stop Whitmer from enacting common-sense safety measures. This information comes from some recorded rantings that the judge in his case was allowed to hear, and which led the judge to refuse to let him out on bond.

Via Detroit Free Press:

According to the government, here is some of what Croft does not want the public to hear:

"Croft expounds in an excited tone about his intent to commit acts of terrorism, and claims God has granted him permission to violate His (God's) commandments," prosecutors state in court records. "In one particular passage, Croft explicitly states his intent to kidnap Gov. Whitmer — the primary offense with which he is charged."

The media has been fighting for access to this recording, along with several other known recordings and images that Croft and his lawyers are hoping to keep sealed.

- Photographs of Croft with a "boogaloo" flag, and another with a shotgun.
- Audio recordings of Croft at a "militia" group meeting in Ohio.
- Video recording of Croft firing a semiautomatic rifle at a field training exercise in Wisconsin.
- Audio recording of Croft at a training exercise in Wisconsin.
- A photograph of a highway bridge near Whitmer's vacation home.
- A photograph of Croft's modified semiautomatic rifle.

You think they'd also want that picture of him, above, in the tricorn hat repressed, but that image, and the video interview in which he wore it, remain online for the world to see. But we should probably show you the Boogaloo flag, since we're here.

Boogaloo flag: igloo, stripes, and a hibiscus layer.

YEP. That is it!

Prosecutors argue that releasing this information would not poison the jury pool, "Because Croft's trial is not until October, and the jury will be drawn from the thirty-four counties ... such prejudice is unlikely here." Media outlets like Buzzfeed have argued that similar information about other defendants has been released and it's not clear why Croft's should be any different. It's not.

Not to come across as defending the guy, but I am actually not super clear on how drawing the jury from 34 counties would impact whether or not information made public by a national news outlet would poison a jury. These things just do not seem related.

That being said, absolutely none of these things are remotely unexpected, given who Croft is. Outside of the picture of Whitmer's vacation home and perhaps the recording about how "God" gave him the thumb's up on murder, they're all pretty much what one would assume about the kind of guy who joins militias and wears a tricorn hat.

The defense lawyers in this case are arguing that none of their clients were literally planning on kidnapping Gretchen Whitmer, and that it was all just a bunch of guys engaging in "tough talk." And sure, fine, that is a thing people do sometimes. We all come up with plans for things we're never actually get around to (though for normal people it's more "Oh my god we should totally start a band or a podcast or go play tennis sometime" and less "Let's kidnap the governor of Michigan!"). But generally speaking, once you actually go out and start doing bomb-testing, it goes from hypothetical "What if we did this?" scenario to actual "plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan" scenario.

Frankly, one would think that "I got permission from God to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer" would be the exact kind of thing Croft and his lawyers would want to get out, as it might lead jurors to conclude that he was not all there and thus less culpable than he might be otherwise — but perhaps the whole tape is even more damning than that one clip.

[Detroit Free Press]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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