Feb 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Second man to plead guilty in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan governor

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Kaleb Franks is expected to plead guilty to willingly conspiring with five other men to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in 2020, according to documents filed on Monday.

Why it matters: Franks will be the second man to plead guilty in the alleged plot, which the FBI disrupted.

  • Ty Garbin, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, was sentenced to six years in prison last year.

Details: Defense lawyers for Franks and the other men charged in the case have argued undercover FBI agents and informants entrapped their clients.

  • But in the plea agreement, Franks said he was not entrapped or induced to commit any crimes, per court documents.
  • Franks' sentence could be reduced if "he fully cooperates with the Government and materially and substantially assists the Government in the investigation or prosecution of others," the filing read.
  • Franks' attorney did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Background: The FBI said in October 2020 it disrupted a plot to violently overthrow Michigan's government by kidnapping Whitmer, Axios' Jacob Knutson writes.

  • At the time, Whitmer had been heavily criticized by right-wing groups for implementing strict COVID-19 restrictions.
  • After the plot was foiled, Whitmer said former President Trump was partly to blame for fomenting anger against her coronavirus restrictions and for not strongly denouncing far-right extremist groups.
  • Trump faced criticism for encouraging the protests and calling on Whitmer to "give a little," tweeting at one point: "LIBERATE MICHIGAN."

What to watch: A trial for case is slated for next month.

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