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A second man involved in the alleged plan to kidnap Michigan’s Governor pleads guilty

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

By cooperating with federal prosecutors, Kaleb Franks could receive sentence reduction.

Kaleb Franks appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Phillip Green in United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Franks is accused of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. A felony offense carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Franks was one of six men so agitated by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, they allegedly plotted in June 2020 to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. FBI agents infiltrated the group, built a case, then made arrests. Franks expressed there was no coercion by those agents.

Franks is now one of two conspirators admitting guilt in the case. Ty Garbin plead guilty last year.

Franks has admitted involvement with the militia group Wolverine Watchmen. In court, confirming kidnapping plans included surveillance of the governor’s northern Michigan vacation home and the construction of a mock-up home described as a “shoot house” used for firearms training. The group travelled to Wisconsin for field training and I.E.D. detonations. Code words were used and communications encrypted obscuring illegal activities.

By cooperating with federal prosecutors, Franks hopes to receive a sentence reduction. His hearing is scheduled for May.

But first, he’ll serve with Garbin as prosecution witnesses in the kidnapping trial beginning March 8th in Grand Rapids.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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