Feds Get First Conviction in Plot to Kidnap Governor

'Wolverine Watchmen' member Ty Garbin agrees to testify against other plotters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2021 12:02 PM CST
Suspect in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot to Testify Against Others
In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich.   (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, file)

One of six men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleaded guilty Wednesday and agreed to testify against the other five suspects. Ty Garbin, a 25-year-old aircraft mechanic, will be sentenced July 8 on a federal charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The AP reports the plea deal contains no agreement on his sentencing. As part of the plea deal, Garbin agreed to "fully cooperate" with federal and state investigators, the Detroit News reports. "It might mean some day you are called to the courtroom and obligated to tell the truth … even if it ends up hurting people you know. Do you think you could do that?" US District Judge Robert Jonke asked Garbin. He replied: "I could, your honor."

Garbin, a member of the Wolverine Watchmen, also agreed to testify against eight suspects facing terrorism-related state charges. The FBI says the extremists, angered by Michigan's coronavirus restrictions, plotted to kidnap the Democratic governor from her vacation home in northern Michigan and either put her on trial for treason or abandon her in a boat on Lake Michigan, the New York Times reports. According to court documents, the men trained at Garbin's rural property, constructing a "shoot house" to practice attacking Whitmer's home. Garbin said they also visited Antrim County to carry out surveillance on the vacation home and the surrounding area. In a text message to fellow plotters, he suggested blowing up a bridge to hinder law enforcement. (Investigators say the initial plan was to storm the state Capitol and execute officials.)

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