Delaware man charged in plot to kidnap Michigan governor previously pardoned on weapons charge

A Delaware man charged for his role in a plot to kidnap the Michigan governor was previously pardoned on a weapons charge.

Delaware Gov. John Carney last year signed off on a pardon for Barry Croft Jr., who was arrested and charged Wednesday in federal court with conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

According to documents obtained by Delaware Online/The News Journal, the 44-year-old suspect was pardoned on a series of criminal charges dealt to him in the mid-1990s, including possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, assault and burglary.

He was also convicted on charges of conspiracy, receiving stolen property and disorderly conduct, according to the pardon document.

Carney in a statement confirming the pardon called the federal charges raised against Croft “disturbing” and said everyone involved with the plot should be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“This is also another warning sign about the growing threat of violence and radicalization in our politics,” added Carney, who is a democrat.

© Provided by New York Daily News Barry Croft Jr.

Barry Croft Jr.

Croft’s pardon was recommended by the Delaware Board of Pardons and was not opposed by the Delaware Department of Justice.

A DOJ spokesperson said in a statement to Delaware Public Media that “the previous administration did not oppose the application, because Croft’s criminal history was more than 20 years old and it appeared to everyone involved that his offenses were in his past.”

Croft was among a dozen others charged for the kidnapping plot after a months-long investigation kicked off in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when a group against the Democratic leader’s strict lockdown measures hatched a plan to storm the state Capitol with Molotov cocktails and take her as a hostage, according to state and federal prosecutors.

Michigan residents Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, and Adam Fox were also hit with conspiracy kidnapping charges alongside Croft.

Seven others, all of whom live in Michigan and have ties to the far-right extremist group, Wolverine Watchmen, were charged in state court with a series of felonies, including providing material support for terrorist acts, carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony and gang membership.

According to sworn affidavit from an FBI agent, Croft and Fox “agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the U.S. Constitution.”

The men purchased weapons and carried out surveillance exercises but their kidnapping plot was thwarted after FBI informants infiltrated their group.