Judge denies bail for alleged Whitmer kidnapping plot, described as “violent extremist”
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A Delaware man described by prosecutors as “possibly the most committed violent extremist” among those charged with the Whitmer kidnapping plot has been denied bail.
On Wednesday, January 13, United States District Judge Sally Berens ruled that giving bail to Barry Croft Jr., 45, would be too risky for the community, especially given his anti-police statements and its apparent ability to manufacture improvised explosives. .
After a long delay due to coronavirus concerns, Croft appeared in a Grand Rapids courtroom for his first hearing in Michigan since his arrest on October 8.
He is one of six men facing federal charges in an alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer over coronavirus lockdowns and other issues.
Berens listened to FBI Special Agent Richard Trask II’s testimony for over an hour before deciding on the bail. Among the evidence were secret tapes of Croft telling others about his violent intentions.
“He is probably the most committed violent extremist of the whole group,” said Deputy US Attorney Nils Kessler. “In the tapes he said he wanted to kill people and that he would do it if necessary.”
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Croft has an alleged “Three Percenter” tattoo on his hand. The “Three Percent” group has been described by some as anti-government extremists willing to take more overt action as opposed to mere militia training.
Trask said Croft was considered a national leader of the group, although Croft denied being part of a militia group.
Croft has been to the Midwest at least three times last year, including June 6 in Dublin, Ohio; July 11-12 in Wisconsin and September 12-13 in Luther, Michigan. The trips to Wisconsin and Michigan were for field training events and Croft brought an IED to both events he built.
During Luther’s event, the IED was detonated with shrapnel inside and silhouettes were put in place to assess the damage it could cause, Trask said.
Croft was also allegedly involved in the surveillance of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s vacation home during the September event.
Prosecutors have suggested Croft and Adam Fox, 37, a man from the Grand Rapids area, were the ringleaders of the Whitmer plot.
They were charged with a federal kidnapping conspiracy charge along with Brandon Caserta, 33, of Canton, Kaleb Franks, 26, of Waterford, Ty Garbin, 24, of Livingston County, and Daniel Harris, 23 , from Lake Orion. Eight other men have been charged in state court.
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