Nessel: Jurors in Whitmer kidnapping case ‘got it wrong’

By: - April 20, 2022 1:51 pm

Dana Nessel addresses the MCRC on Feb. 1, 2019 | Ken Coleman

Attorney General Dana Nessel said Wednesday the jury that acquitted two of the four men accused of conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer came to the wrong conclusion. 

“I’m not just going to lie back. … I respect the work of juries, but do I think they got it wrong on those cases? Yeah, I think they got it wrong,” Nessel said during a press conference Wednesday morning before the Michigan GOP convention this weekend in Grand Rapids. 

On April 8, jurors in a federal court in Grand Rapids said Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were not guilty, but didn’t come to a conclusion on whether Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. are guilty. Judge Robert Jonker declared a mistrial in Fox’s and Croft’s cases and they can be retried.

All four had been charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home in northern Michigan in October 2020, as well as related weapons charges.

“It’s not going to stop me from presenting the state cases that we have and it’s not going to stop me from doing the right thing, which is enforcing the law,” Nessel said. “You can disagree with your government, and you can say some incredibly acerbic things even about the work of your elected officials, but you can’t conspire to do harm to them.”

Two men acquitted in Whitmer kidnapping trial

Nessel said her office is going to “aggressively prosecute” these cases. 

The Democratic attorney general is up for reelection in November. 

Three Republicans vying to win GOP delegates’ nomination for attorney general: attorney Matt DePerno, former House Speaker Tom Leonard and state Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.). 

The convention also will pick nominees for secretary of state, state education boards and Supreme Court.

DePerno gained notoriety for spreading false election fraud conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election, claiming that former President Donald Trump won, even though President Joe Biden beat Trump in Michigan by more than 154,000 votes.. 

Trump has endorsed DePerno and campaigned for him in Washington Township earlier this month. 

During Wednesday’s press conference, Nessel pushed back against election fraud conspiracies and said that DePerno isn’t fit to protect the state’s election process and the will of the voters.

“It’s incredibly important that the attorney general be prepared to again defend the legitimate results of the election,” Nessel said.

Nessel said she would investigate DePerno and others for spreading false information about 2020 election fraud in Antrim County, which erred in initial reporting showing Biden won, which was quickly corrected, and profiting or gaining publicity from claims. She has since removed herself from the investigation, which was requested by the Senate Oversight Committee, because of a conflict of interest.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.