A stunning defeat for prosecutors in the highly publicized case.

A federal jury found two of the defendants not guilty and were deadlocked on two others leading to no convictions in the kidnapping conspiracy case.

The defendants were allegedly angry with Democrat Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 policies.

Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris were found not guilty of all charges. They jury could not reach a verdict for Adam Fox and Barry Croft, but prosecutors said they would seek a retrial.

Prosecutors said the men were part of a militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen, which talked about shooting Whitmer at her home, trying her for treason, executing her, or trapping her in a boat and abandoning her in Lake Michigan.

Defense attorneys accused the government of entrapping the men by orchestrating and leading the plot, which would not have advanced beyond hypotheticals if not for a federal informant joining the group and guiding their actions.

The trial focused on whether there was enough evidence to show the men intended to carry out the plans. Prosecutors relied heavily on the testimony of the informant who allegedly entrapped the group.

He testified that by June 2020, he took the role of second-in-command and led general training operations thanks to his background as a military veteran. In a key moment, he then testified that around that time he and his two FBI handlers became frustrated by the group’s lack of direction. He then stepped forward to advance the group’s hypothetical plan towards reality.

Government lawyers said any inducement by agents was fair game and they only needed to show that the group was predisposed to commit the crime. Matthew Schneider, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, also blamed the jury, saying they were insufficiently screened.

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