Ex-FBI agent in Whitmer kidnap plot enters plea in case tied to wife's assault

The Detroit News

Former FBI Special Agent Richard Trask, the lead investigator in the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping conspiracy case, pleaded no contest Monday to aggravated assault charges stemming from allegations he beat his wife in July after returning home from a swingers party. 

Trask entered the plea to the misdemeanor offense before Kalamazoo County Circuit Judge Gary Giguere, court officials said. He was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay court costs. 

Trask's attorney, Sarissa K. Montague, told The Detroit News after the hearing "this was a difficult situation for the family" and "we are looking forward to moving forward."

Former FBI Special Agent Richard Trask. The 39-year-old Kalamazoo resident pleaded no contest Monday to assault charges in connection with a July incident involving his wife.

The Monday plea for Trask comes after he was fired from the FBI in September. Trask originally faced one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, less than murder, in connection with the incident. That charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

A no contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for the purposes of sentencing.

An affidavit filed in July by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office in Kalamazoo County District Court said Trask's wife had bloody lacerations to the right side of her head and "blood all over chest, clothing arms and hand," as well as "severe" bruising to her neck and throat following the alleged incident.

The former special agent had worked for FBI since 2011 and served as the FBI's public face in the Whitmer case, testifying in federal court about the investigation. He has worked on cases involving espionage, terrorism and domestic extremism investigations.

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. 

Prior to his September firing, prosecutors revealed they had decided not to use Trask as a witness during the 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---."

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

Trask testified in federal court in January against Delaware resident Barry Croft, an accused plotter who is portrayed as the group’s bomb maker. Trask identified Croft as the national leader of the 3 Percenters, a small militia that participated in the Jan. 6 insurgence at the U.S. Capitol.

During the court hearing, Trask helped provide context about multiple undercover recordings that included Croft. 

Defense lawyers have portrayed their clients as tough talkers who were exercising their First Amendment rights who never carried out any kidnapping plot.