Ali comments on implications of Whitmer kidnap trial verdicts

April 8, 2022

The verdict in the trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer produced two not guilty determinations and two mistrials.

Ford School professor of practice Javed Ali told ABC News, "In a post-9/11 counterterrorism world, the Department of Justice has rarely lost high profile counterterrorism cases based on successful entrapment claims, and this development punches a hole in that relatively unblemished track record the past two decades. It may also give momentum to other anti-government groups and extremists who believe in similar causes like those pursued by the individuals in this case."

During the jury's deliberations, Ali said that a larger landscape of domestic terror has become apparent. 

He told the Daily Beast the number of violent events and plots the FBI has been investigating shows that "the significant amount of social-media accounts and platforms which host or facilitate the exchange of toxic ideas and beliefs, and what is likely a very large pool of Americans who believe in them” separates the current era of right-wing extremism from previous spikes in militia and anti-government activity.