Delaware suspect in Whitmer plot was pardoned last year
DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware man charged in federal court with conspiracy to kidnap the Michigan government. Gretchen Whitmer has a long criminal history and was only pardoned by the Delaware governor last year for crimes of 1994, according to state records.
Barry G. Croft Jr., 44, was taken into custody this week after being arrested by the FBI in Swedesboro, New Jersey. Croft first appeared before a federal judge in Wilmington on Thursday.
Croft was held in a Wilmington State Prison on Friday. A hearing about his continued detention and deportation to Michigan is scheduled for Tuesday.
Five other men, all from Michigan, were charged with allegedly attempting months of planning and even rehearsals to get Whitmer out of her vacation home.
Croft spent nearly three years in prison after being convicted on December 1, 1997 of possession of a firearm while committing a crime. This sentence followed a one-year stay that ended in March 1996.
In April 2019, a week after Delaware tax officials filed a state tax lien against Croft for more than $ 36,700, Democratic Governor John Carney granted him a 1994-1996 pardon on the 1997 gun charge and several other convictions , Burglary, theft and receipt of stolen property.
Carney's pardon came after a December 2018 pardon hearing that the attorney general did not object to Croft's request for a pardon. The board's recommendation for a pardon was based on the lack of resistance from the state "and the need for a pardon for employment purposes".
"The previous administration did not oppose this motion because Croft's criminal history was more than 20 years old and everyone involved felt that his crimes were in his past and that he was on the right track," said Mat Marshall, one Spokesperson for Democratic Attorney General Kathy Jennings. "Needless to say, no one - neither the DOJ nor the bipartisan pardon - would have approved a pardon if they had known what the future would be."
Jonathan Starkey, a spokesman for Carney, noted that Croft's unconditional pardon petition was charged in 1994 and 1997, more than 20 years earlier, and that the pardon was unchecked.
"The charges brought in Michigan are worrying and anyone indicted in this conspiracy should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Starkey said. "This is also another warning sign of the growing threat of violence and radicalization in our politics."
In addition to Croft's criminal convictions, the Delaware authorities tried twice to certify him as a habitual motor vehicle offender, first in 1995 and again in 2004.
He was also the subject of criminal proceedings filed in July 2005, which were not satisfied until 2018. It is unclear what the crime is.
According to the Delaware Department of Correction, Croft was last under DOC supervision in January 2005 when a probationary period ended.
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