State Watch

Second defendant to plead guilty in Whitmer kidnapping plot

A second defendant will plead guilty in the case involving a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020.

Kaleb Franks revealed in documents filed Monday that he will plead guilty to kidnapping conspiracy, which comes with a max sentence of life in prison, according to Reuters.

Franks admitted on Monday that he “was not entrapped or induced to commit any crimes” by undercover agents or other individuals, The Associated Press reported.

According to the AP, the defendant said he was very involved in the scheme, which included firearm training in Wisconsin and Michigan as well as gathering info on Whitmer’s second home in northern Michigan.

Franks had previously maintained that he and his co-defendant “discussed their frustration with people who advocated anti-government action but were unwilling to use force themselves,” according to the AP.

Franks now joins Ty Garbin, 25, who signed a plea agreement last year admitting to helping form a plan to kidnap Whitmer and wipe out a bridge in an effort to stop law enforcement from pursuing them.

Garbin was sentenced to more than six years in prison in August.

Four other defendants will still face trial in connection to the kidnapping scheme, according to the AP. The group sought to take Whitmer because they were frustrated with her COVID-19 mitigation measures, the AP reported, citing government officials.

Franks and Garbin may now be able to provide critical information when the remaining four defendants go on trial, the AP noted. The proceedings are set to begin on March 8 in Grand Rapids.

There is not yet a determination regarding the length of his sentence, but Franks could receive benefits if he “materially and substantially assists” the government, the AP noted.

Franks’s guilty plea came after a number of rulings that benefited the government, one of which barred the defense from utilizing dozens of out-of-court statements as part of their argument that their client was trapped.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker argued that the statements would be hearsay unless the person behind the comments were in the witness box and had the opportunity to be cross-examined, the AP reported.

Tags Gretchen Whitmer

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