Man to plead guilty in plot to kidnap Michigan governor

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DETROIT — One of six men charged in an alleged plot to snatch Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to plead guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy, according to a court document filed Wednesday.

FILE – In a photo provided by the Kent County Sheriff, Ty Garbin is shown in a booking photo. Garbin, one of six men charged in an alleged plot to snatch Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to plead guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy, according to court document filed Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. The filing was made by prosecutors ahead of Ty Garbin’s appearance in federal court in Grand Rapids. (Kent County Sheriff via AP File)

The filing was made by prosecutors ahead of Ty Garbin’s appearance in federal court in Grand Rapids. The plea agreement signed by Garbin indicates that he will “fully cooperate” with investigators. There is no agreement on his sentencing guidelines.

The FBI in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor by anti-government extremists upset over her coronavirus restrictions. Six people were charged in federal court while eight others were charged in state court with aiding the alleged scheme.

In the plea agreement, Garbin admitted to more than five pages of stunning allegations. He said he and others trained with weapons in Munith, Michigan, and Cambria, Wisconsin, last summer and “discussed the plan to storm the Capitol and kidnap the governor.”

The plot, he said, switched to a summer home on Mackinac Island reserved for Michigan governors or Whitmer’s second home in Antrim County.

Garbin said he “advocated waiting until after the national election, when the conspirators expected widespread civil unrest to make it easier for them to operate.”

In September, the six men trained at Garbin’s property near Luther, Michigan, constructing a “shoot house” to resemble Whitmer’s vacation home and “assaulting it with firearms.”

Last fall, defense attorney Mark Satawa said Garbin had no intention to carry out a kidnapping, no matter what he might have said in recorded or online conversations. A “big talk” defense had emerged as a strategy.

“Saying things like, ‘I hate the governor, the governor is tyrannical’ … is not illegal, even if you’re holding a gun and running around the woods when you do it,” Satawa said in October.

Garbin’s guilty plea would be a swift resolution for prosecutors, only about four months after the arrests.

The other defendants are Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta. A trial has been scheduled for March 23.

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