Following a stunning defeat in federal court earlier this month, one of the lead prosecutors handling the trial of four men charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 has withdrawn from the case.
Andrew Birge, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, announced in a filing yesterday that Jonathan Roth “withdraws his appearance as an attorney for the United States,” Roth and assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler represented the government during the three-week trial, which resulted in the acquittal of two men and a mistrial for two others.
Defense attorneys argued the FBI entrapped their clients through the use of at least a dozen FBI informants and undercover agents working out of multiple FBI field offices. The government’s case largely relied on secret recordings captured by FBI assets over a six-month period and involved a separate plot to “kidnap” and kill Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.
After nearly five days of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women in Grand Rapids on April 8 found Daniel Harris and Brandon Casserta not guilty of conspiring to kidnap Whitmer and use a weapon of mass destruction in the process; the jury could not agree on the guilt of Adam Fox, the alleged ringleader, or Barry Croft, Jr.
Both men remain incarcerated. Birge’s office plans to retry Fox and Croft; no new charges have been filed. Prosecutors will have an uphill battle in a second trial since the government will have to convince a jury that Fox and Croft, who lived almost 1,000 miles apart at the time, conspired with two other men who pleaded guilty in exchange for shorter prison sentences. The testimony of Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, who testified the group conspired to kidnap Whitmer and were not entrapped by the FBI, backfired on Birge’s office.
When reached by phone this morning, Roth had no comment to American Greatness.