Ringleader of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot sentenced to 19½ years in prison

A man convicted of playing a key role in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was sentenced to 19 1/2 years in prison Wednesday, more than what was meted out to a co-defendant.

Barry Croft Jr., 47, and co-defendant Adam Fox, 39, were convicted in August of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and to use a weapon of mass destruction to attack Whitmer, who drew the hatred of far-right groups for her efforts to curb the spread of Covid in 2020.

Fox was sentenced to 192 months in prison on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker, setting the stage for Croft's fate and sentence of 235 months.

“I do think of Mr. Croft as the more seriously culpable … more so than even Mr. Fox," Jonker said. “I think he was the person who gave Mr. Fox something to grab on to."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said Croft needs to go away for an extended period of time to protect the public.

“This man is thoroughly radicalized," Kessler said. "He hasn’t changed his viewpoint.”

A jury in April failed to come to verdicts against Fox and Croft, forcing a judge to declare a mistrial before a second trial proved decisive.

Whitmer, who won re-election last month, was the focal point of far-right rage in 2020 when she imposed various lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of Covid.

Then-President Donald Trump appeared to back that opposition in an all-caps tweet.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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