The leader of a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer should not be sentenced to life in prison because federal prosecutors exaggerated his role in the plot and created a ‘false account of a leader terrifying paramilitary,” says his lawyer.
Attorney Christopher Gibbons said in his sentencing memorandum filed Friday night for Adam Fox that the government used “histrionic descriptions” of Fox to exaggerate “his real intentions or real ability.”
The filing in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, came after prosecutors told the court Monday in their sentencing recommendation that a life sentence would be warranted for Fox, saying his target in the conspiracy to 2020 kidnapping was a precursor to rampant anti-government extremism. .
Fox and co-defendant Barry Croft Jr. were convicted in August of conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer. They were also convicted of conspiracy to obtain a weapon of mass destruction.
The FBI shut down the kidnapping plot with arrests in October 2020. Evidence showed Fox and others trained with guns in crudely constructed “shooting houses” in Wisconsin and Michigan and traveled to Elk Rapids, Michigan to scout Whitmer’s vacation home. The strategy was to blow up a bridge to slow down officers responding to a kidnapping, according to trial evidence.
But Gibbons said in Friday’s filing that “in this case there was no bomb” and that no funds “to pay for the ‘bomb'” were provided to an FBI agent who was working undercover. and had tricked the group into thinking he knew someone in the mining industry who could get high quality explosives.
He said “the prosecutors’ sentencing memorandum uses exaggerated language to create the false narrative of a terrifying paramilitary leader.”
“Adam Fox is portrayed as creating an army with a cadre of operators. For example, Adam Fox’s conduct is compared to that of Timothy McVeigh who carried out an actual bombing that killed 168 people, including 19 children “, wrote Gibbons.
“These histrionic descriptions of Adam Fox do not deal rationally with his actual conduct and do not accurately reflect his real intentions or real abilities.”
At trial, Gibbons portrayed Fox as miserable and virtually homeless, a vile, loud-mouthed man who lived in the basement of a Grand Rapids-area vacuum cleaner store. He repeated that description in Friday’s filing, calling his client an “unemployed vacuum cleaner repairman who vented his frustrations on social media but abided by Michigan state laws.”
U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker is due to sentence Fox on Dec. 27. Croft, a trucker from Bear, Delaware, will be sentenced Dec. 28. Two other men pleaded guilty to the kidnapping plot and testified against Fox and Croft, while two other men were acquitted last spring.
In October, in state court, three members of a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen were convicted of supporting Fox.