A juror who helped convict two men last month of plotting to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was allegedly “far-left leaning” and had said they would seek to “hang”, the defendants’ legal team alleged a witness said in a court filing this week.
A retrial jury found Adam Fox guilty on Aug. 23 of conspiracy to kidnap and possession of a weapon of mass destruction, while Barry Croft Jr. was convicted of the same crimes in addition to unregistered destructive device possession.
Fox and Croft’s lawyers asked Tuesday for a hearing on whether the juror committed misconduct, and a new trial because of the juror’s purported misconduct and an alleged appearance of judicial bias affecting the retrial proceedings.
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In evidence presented with the filing, former Fox defense team investigator Gary Gaudard declared that one of the juror’s coworkers had said he personally knew the juror to be “far-left leaning.”
According to Gaudard, the coworker claimed to have heard that the juror said Fox and Croft were “guilty, no matter what” and would “hang” if the juror was chosen for the jury.
Croft and Fox’s lawyers also said a second co-worker claimed to have heard second-hand that the juror had expressed intentions to join the jury and convict them, according to the filing. Investigators identified the second coworker on Aug. 23, the day Croft and Fox were convicted, according to the filing.
The second coworker claimed that same day that the juror had reportedly contacted a family member from jury deliberations, saying the jury had reached a verdict but was yet to deliver it in court, the filing stated. The filing argued this alleged communication with a family member violated the court’s instruction.
The lawyers contended the court had unconstitutionally imposed time limits on defendants’ cross examination of witness Kaleb Franks, who had previously pleaded guilty in the case, according to Fox 17, and gave an appearance of bias impacting the jury. They said these factors and the juror’s alleged misconduct warranted a new trial.
During the trial, U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker had heard an allegation of a juror stating their intended verdict prior to selection, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Jonker was subsequently persuaded in a seven-minute interview with the juror that they never made the alleged pre-selection comment, court records revealed.
Croft and Fox’s initial April trial did not result in a verdict against them, with two other men being acquitted, according to The Associated Press. Their defense argued the FBI entrapped them.
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