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Defendants in alleged Whitmer kidnapping plot are arguing FBI informants engineered plan

Many of the attorneys representing the men accused in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) earlier this year say they are turning their focus toward convincing the jury that FBI informants had engineered the plan, BuzzFeed News reports.

That will likely be difficult to pull off in court, especially amid what one defense lawyer called a "haystack" of damning evidence against the suspects, BuzzFeed notes. But the publication's lengthy examination of the case based on "an analysis of court filings, transcripts, exhibits, audio recordings, and other documents, as well as interviews with more than two dozen people with direct knowledge of the case" suggests that some of the informants did play a "far larger role" in the strategizing than has been previously been reported. 

For instance, the BuzzFeed piece details how one informant who rose to become the second-in-command of a Michigan militant group "steered the conversation away from rhetoric to specific plans" at a meeting by asking the alleged mastermind what the "mission" was. Another informant reportedly helped organize several meetings during which many of the suspects met each and began formulating the kidnapping plot.

Per Buzzfeed, the informants "did more than just passively observe and report" on the suspects, and instead "had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot," raising questions about whether the conspiracy would've even existed without them. Read more at BuzzFeed News.