September 22, 2023

A jury was selected Tuesday for the trial of four men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, extraordinary allegations of violence planned against an elected official that led the presiding judge to advise: “This isn’t your average criminal case.”

Opening statements were scheduled for Wednesday in the federal court in Grand Rapids. Prosecutors have said the men were angry about pandemic restrictions the Democratic governor imposed, and that they will present secret recordings and other evidence against the men, including of a trip to check Whitmer’s vacation home and training with weapons and explosives.

Defense attorneys say the men deny any conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer, and have signaled an entrapment defense, criticizing the government’s use of undercover FBI agents and confidential informants.

Eleven women and seven men were selected to serve as jurors, with 12 who will decide the case and six alternates, though the court did not make clear Tuesday which jurors are alternates. Before they left the courtroom, U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker told the jury to stay off social media and not discuss the case with family.

Source: AP News