The FBI’s case against those that plotted to kidnap Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took a hit Monday as the FBI agent instrumental in trapping the schemers was arrested for domestic abuse, The Detroit News reported.
FBI Special Agent Richard Trask, 39, was charged with assault with the intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, according to the report. He has been alleged to have beaten his wife, potentially drawing more scrutiny to the Whitmer plot case that had already been under fire for alleged wrongdoing by investigators.
“It’s the last thing you want for a major case like this,” former FBI agent Andrew Arena in charge of the FBI’s Detroit office told the News. “Any time you give the defense any ammunition it’s not good.”
Details of the domestic assault were not reported, but the FBI agent was released on $10,000 bond after being arraigned in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Trask, 39, did not respond to the News’ request for comment and FBI spokeswoman Mara Schneider said the bureau is cooperating with the domestic assault prosecutors. Trask’s job status not given.
“In accordance with FBI policy, the incident is subject to internal review, and I cannot comment further at this time,” Schneider told the News in a statement.
The FBI internal affairs will likely investigate and consider a suspension, according to Arena.
“Depending on the severity, it could be a suspension until things are ironed out one way or another,” Arena told the News.
The arrest comes after lawyers for the five men facing federal political kidnapping charges in the plot against Whitmer last summer alleged another FBI agent was trying to sabotage the defense, according to the News.
Trask is prohibited from possessing a firearm as part of his release on bond, complicating his status as an agent and as a face of the investigation of the Whitmer plot.
“If you can’t carry a weapon, then you’re not going to work as a street agent,” Arena told the News. “He’s going to be suspended or put on restricted duty.”
Lawyers for the five men accused in the plot to kidnap Whitmer claim FBI informants entrapped the men awaiting an October trial in federal court in Michigan.
This is the second snag for the prosecution. An informant alleged to help the FBI infiltrate the plot, Wisconsin resident Stephen Robeson, was indicted in March and is unlikely to be used for the prosecution.
One of the accused, Delaware resident Barry Croft, is the alleged bomb maker and was identified by Trask as being the national leader of the Three Percenters, a militia group also accused in participating in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.
“In an investigation like this, you’re always trying to ensure you have more than one person who can testify about that piece of evidence, so if something happens, you’ve got a backup,” Arena told the News.
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