In explaining his decision not to issue a life sentence, Judge Jonker said Mr. Fox did not seem to be a natural leader, that his tactical skills were limited and that the plot had little chance of success because law enforcement had infiltrated the group.
Ms. Whitmer, who was elected to a second term last month, said after the trial that the convictions showed “that violence and threats have no place in our politics and those who seek to divide us will be held accountable.” Her spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. The state’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said in a statement that “Adam Fox’s actions undermined the security of every Michigan resident” and that his “sentencing sends a clear message that domestic terrorism will not be tolerated.”
At his first trial in the spring, jurors acquitted two of Mr. Fox’s co-defendants but failed to reach verdicts on the charges against Mr. Fox and another man, Barry Croft. At a second trial this summer, which played out amid a tense campaign season in politically divided Michigan, Mr. Fox and Mr. Croft were each convicted of kidnapping conspiracy and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Two other men, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, pleaded guilty to kidnapping conspiracy in federal court and testified against Mr. Fox and Mr. Croft, who is set to be sentenced on Wednesday. Mr. Garbin was sentenced to 30 months in prison and Mr. Franks was sentenced to four years.
Three others connected to the plot were convicted in state court in October of providing support for terrorist acts. They received sentences that could keep them in prison at least seven years and up to 20 years. Five more men were charged in state court in another county and were awaiting trial.
Mr. Fox told Judge Jonker that he did not want to address the court before the sentence was announced. While prosecutors made their case for a life sentence, Mr. Fox, who was wearing an orange jail jumpsuit with a long-sleeved white undershirt, repeatedly looked toward the courtroom gallery.
When prosecutors announced charges against the men just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the case quickly became one of the highest-profile domestic terrorism prosecutions in recent history. Many saw the plot as indicative of the rising threat of political violence and right-wing domestic terrorism, concerns that have only grown more pronounced since the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.