FBI fires Whitmer kidnap case agent amid wife beating allegations

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

The FBI has fired one of the lead agents credited with thwarting a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after he was charged with beating his wife following a swingers party, The Detroit News has learned.

The firing of Special Agent Richard Trask earlier this week comes amid questions about agent misconduct and whether as many as 12 informants were driving the alleged conspiracy.

FBI Special Agent Richard Trask

Trask was fired, according to a source familiar with his case, while awaiting trial on a charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and allegations he smashed his wife's head against a nightstand and choked her after a dispute stemming from their attendance at a swingers' party in July. Trask also was moonlighting as a personal trainer and it was unclear if his superiors at the FBI were aware or had approved the job.

The basis of Trask's firing were unclear and FBI spokesman Mara Schneider would only confirm Saturday that Trask is no longer employed by the bureau.

Trask's lawyer could not be reached for comment immediately Saturday.

Trask, 39, of Kalamazoo, was the public face of the FBI in the Whitmer investigation. He testified in court proceedings for five men awaiting trial in federal court on a range of charges, including kidnapping and weapons of mass destruction conspiracies. 

Earlier this month, prosecutors revealed they had decided not to use Trask as a witness during the Oct. 12 trial. The decision was announced as they referred to social media posts in which Trask called former President Donald Trump a douchebag and "piece of s---."

“They’re slicing him out,” said lawyer Michael Hills, who represents accused kidnap plotter Brandon Caserta of Canton Township. “They’re not calling him.”

FBI agent used anti-Trump profanity while investigating Whitmer kidnapping plot

Trask's arrest came as defense lawyers started to reveal a trial strategy that involves suppressing evidence, attacking the work of FBI agents and claiming FBI informants entrapped men accused in the conspiracy. 

On Wednesday, defense lawyers asked a judge for a 90-day trial delay, saying they need more time to prepare and investigate the conduct of FBI agents who thwarted the alleged conspiracy

rsnell@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @robertsnellnews