Adam Fox, one of four militia members accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. File Photo via Kent County Sheriff's Office/UPI | License Photo
March 28 (UPI) -- An undercover FBI agent testified Monday that the alleged leaders of a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer placed a $4,000 order for explosives with him.
Testifying in the trial of Michigan militia members Barry Croft Jr., Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris, FBI agent Special Agent Tim Bates told jurors that Fox and Croft instructed him to procure the explosives, the Detroit Free Press and MLive.com reported.
Bates was posing as an explosives experts known as "Red" to gain the confidence of the alleged plotters when they made the request, he testified.
Fox, he said, told him the explosives would be used to blow up a bridge near Whitmer's vacation house to slow down law enforcement response following her kidnapping, adding that at one point they inspected the targeted bridge to scout out the best way to place the explosives.
"We were to look at the bridge to survey it to see what type of explosives would be appropriate," Bates testified at a federal courthouse in Grand Rapids, Mich. "[Fox] said he wanted to take the bridge out to slow police response to the kidnapping."
The FBI agent also said the militia members didn't have the $4,000 needed for the transaction and asked him if they could obtain the materials with an IOU.
Croft, Fox, Harris and Caserta all face charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, as they allegedly plotted to kidnap the governor in response to COVID-19 restrictions in the state.
Two other Michigan men, Ty Garbin and Kaleb James Franks, have pleaded guilty and agreed to turn state's evidence against the others.
In further testimony Monday, Bates said the defendants were "excited" when he showed them an FBI-produced video of a vehicle being blown up. Prosecutors played audio recordings of them watching the video, in which the defendants are heard to exclaim, "Oh yeah!" and "That was impressive."
The group's plan, Bates said, was to abduct the governor from her vacation cabin, drive her to Lake Michigan, place her in a boat and drop the motor in the middle of the lake.
Attorneys for the four men have argued the group was high on marijuana and set up and entrapped by FBI informants.
Defense attorney Joshua Blanchard grilled Bates on the details of his testimony, getting him to agree that no money actually changed hands in the alleged explosives transaction.