Mastermind behind Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot joins co-conspirator with a long prison sentence

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).
(Image credit: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The convicted ringleader behind the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) was sentenced on Wednesday to more than 19 years in prison, just one day after one of his co-conspirators received a similar sentence.

Barry Croft Jr., 47, was convicted this past August of conspiracy by a federal jury after it was found that he played a major role in the failed ploy to kidnap the governor, and had radicalized others to join him. Croft, the final defendant to be sentenced in relation to the plot, was also found guilty of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The plot was reportedly set to take place in 2020, and would involve kidnapping Whitmer from her summer home in order to try and start a national rebellion.

Federal attorneys had sought life in prison for Croft, presenting evidence that he was a direct danger to society. According to NBC News, prosecutors called Croft an American version of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the man who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former leader of Al Qaeda.

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"He's the spiritual leader of this group, of this movement the same way some sheik in ISIS or Al Qaeda might be," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker agreed, saying, "I do think of Mr. Croft as the more seriously culpable [party]."

Croft's sentence comes just one day after co-conspirator Adam Fox was sentenced to 16 years behind bars on similar charges. A number of other men involved in the plot have also been charged and sentenced.

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