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Friday, December 31, 2021

Another Offensive Autism Defense

In The Politics of Autism, I write that there is no evidence linking autism to planned violence.  Such suggestions reflect prejudice.  But it is equally offensive to suggest that autistic people are mentally incapable of planning a crime.  Lawyers for domestic terrorists have attempted to play to this prejudice.

 Tresa Baldas at The Detroit Free Press:

He was referred to as "Captain Autism," the accused ringleader in the alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

But with a nickname like that, the defense argues, it's clear the man's codefendants didn't take him seriously, or believe that he could commit a crime — like hatch a plan to snatch and kill the governor.

That was entirely the FBI's doing, the defense maintains, not Adam Fox's.

"No one would have conspired with Adam Fox because no one believed he had any ability to form, much less carry out, a plan," the defense argues in a new court filing that outlines how it plans to fight the government in the upcoming trial that highlights the growth of extremism in America.

The defense also wants jurors to hear a comment from one of Fox's codefendants, Ty Garbin, who in July 2020 allegedly said, “Captain Autism can't make up his mind.”

Garbin, who previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and is serving a six-year prison sentence, was referring to Fox.

"(W)ith the “Captain Autism” remark ... The meaning of it lies in the defendants’ recognition that Adam Fox had no actual disposition toward truly committing wrongdoing . . . with a true plan and viability," the defense states.