GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Prosecutors in the trial of four men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer played secretly recorded audio for jurors in a Grand Rapids courtroom on Thursday.
Recordings were taken at a meeting at the Drury Inn just outside of Columbus, Ohio in June of 2020. Involved in that meeting were 13 self-proclaimed antigovernmental extremists from around the country. The FBI said that is where the plot to kidnap Whitmer was first created.
Barry Croft is accused of being the plot’s ringleader. He was in charge of the meeting at the inn in Dublin, Ohio. He did not know that the FBI put a recording device on an informant and every word of the meeting was being recorded.
Croft was emotional, almost to the point of tears, when he told the group that he was a terrorist and his target was politicians and police -- who he hated. Croft said he was ready to kill.
“I want to hurt people. I want to burn houses down and blow things up. Burn a family to the ground. I am going to do it. Murder and killing,” Croft said in the recording. “I might murder a cop, put his uniform on and murder feds. I am not being hypothetical.”
“I am going to terrorize. We are all terrorists,” Croft said. “I am ready to level buildings and burn houses down.”
“I will terrorize the right people, the people terrorizing my people, like, that state police officer that’s giving you trouble,” Croft said.
Croft mentioned the Wolverine Watchmen to the group.
“You see Wolverines doing it and you will know Barry Croft id it like it is my signature,” Croft said.
The defense argued that the talk of kidnapping Whitmer was just talk.