GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A judge will give federal prosecutors more time to seek a grand jury indictment against six men accused of conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally J. Berens on Friday granted the motion due to the large volume of evidence in the highly-publicized case. The extension was not opposed by attorneys representing the six defendants.
A status conference scheduled for Wednesday Nov. 4 has now been moved to Dec. 17 in federal court in Grand Rapids.
Six men, including Adam Fox of Wyoming, were charged under criminal complaints with conspiracy to kidnap, a potential life offense.
In asking for more time, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said there was a large amount of evidence to analyze.
The list includes hundreds of hours of audio recordings, more than 13,000 pages of encrypted test messages and “potentially illegal firearms and explosives evidence which must be examined by FBI and ATF experts to determine whether additional federal charges are appropriate,’’ court records show.
In granting the motion, Berens wrote that there is no lack of diligence on the part of the government.
“Moreover, the defendants are unlikely to be prejudiced by the delay because one defendant, Barry Croft, has not appeared in the district,’’ Berens wrote. “Indeed, defendants do not oppose this motion.’’
Croft lives in Delaware. The others are from Michigan. Under the Oct. 30 order, the government has until Dec. 16 to obtain an indictment.
Investigators say the six were involved in a plot to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, before the Nov. 3 election.
In addition to the six charged in federal court, eight others have been charged in state court with providing material support for terrorist acts.
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