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2nd guilty plea planned in alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer

Kent County Jail Booking photo
Kent County
Kaleb Franks is part of a group that conspired to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Four more still face charges.

A man charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to plead guilty, according to documents filed Monday, leaving four people to face trial in March.

Kaleb Franks said he willfully conspired with five other men to kidnap the Democratic governor before FBI agents stepped in and arrested the group in October 2020. The government said they wanted to kidnap Whitmer because of their disgust over COVID-19 restrictions.

Franks said he “was not entrapped or induced to commit any crimes” by undercover agents or informants working for the government. He signed a document agreeing to plead guilty as charged.

Ty Garbin pleaded guilty in 2021 and was sentenced to slightly more than six years in prison.

The plea deal suggests that Franks, like Garbin, could be another key witness for prosecutors at the March 8 trial. While there is no agreement on the length of his prison sentence, Franks could be rewarded if he “materially and substantially assists” the government.

Some defendants are also facing weapons charges.

When the kidnapping case was filed in 2020, it added even more heat to the final weeks of a tumultuous election season.

Whitmer pinned some blame on then-President Donald Trump, saying his refusal to denounce far-right groups had inspired extremists across the country. Trump had earlier urged supporters to “LIBERATE” Michigan and two other states led by Democratic governors from stay-at-home mandates.

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