An FBI special agent who was heavily involved in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the months before the 2020 election has himself been arrested and charged with assaulting his wife.
Special Agent Richard Trask, 39, of Kalamazoo, Mich., stands accused of smashing his wife’s head against a nightstand and choking her after an argument that stemmed from their attending a swingers’ party earlier in the evening, according to court records seen by The Detroit News.
According to reports, Trask was charged on Monday by prosecutors with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, less than murder, after the Sunday incident.
The Detroit News reported that once the couple arrived back home after the party, the FBI special agent climbed atop his wife who was in their bed and “then grabbed the side of her head and smashed it several times on the nightstand,” a court affidavit said.
The filing said that his wife then attempted to escape by grabbing Trask’s beard, but he started choking her around the neck and throat with both hands. Eventually, she managed to grab his testicle and freed herself. Trask then left their home in her vehicle, the court papers said.
Authorities tracked Trask to a parking lot of a nearby supermarket, where he refused to provide a statement about the alleged incident after he was read his rights, the affidavit states.
Trask has worked for the bureau since 2011 and became the agency’s public face in the alleged Whitmer kidnapping case, even testifying about the investigation in federal court. In addition to domestic extremism cases, Trask has also worked on cases involving espionage and terrorism, according to The Detroit News.
The FBI had no comment on his arrest.
“In accordance with FBI policy, the incident is subject to internal review, and I cannot comment further at this time,” spokeswoman Mara Schneider said on Monday, adding that the bureau is cooperating with the prosecutor.
His job status at present is not clear.
“She ultimately grabbed Trask's testicles, which ended the altercation …” https://t.co/I9IVMOJIX1
— Brandon Darby (@brandondarby) July 21, 2021
But regarding the Whitmer probe, at least one of the defendants arrested in the case is claiming that Trask and other FBI agents entrapped them.
“The government has documented at least 12 confidential informants who assisted the sprawling investigation,” Buzzfeed News reported earlier this week.
The outlet noted that an examination of the case “also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported.”
“Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception,” Buzzfeed News continued. “The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.”
Defendants now say that their talk about a kidnapping Whitmer was nothing more than fantastical musings and that they were never serious about harming her or anyone else.
And while attorneys for the defendants would not speak to the outlet on the record, according to court filings at least one of them has accused the government of entrapment.
The defendant argues that “the FBI assembled the key plotters, encouraged the group’s anti-government feelings, and even gave its members military-style training,” Buzzfeed reported.
“Additional defendants have said they plan to make similar claims when the cases, divided between federal and state court, go to trial starting as soon as October,” the outlet noted further.
Experts think that Trask’s arrest is going to further complicate the prosecution’s case.
“It’s the last thing you want for a major case like this,” Andrew Arena, former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit office, told The Detroit News. “Any time you give the defense any ammunition it’s not good.”
“Court filings revealed a defense strategy that involves suppressing evidence, attacking the work of FBI agents and claiming FBI informants entrapped men accused in the conspiracy,” the paper reported.
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