US seeks 9-year prison term for Gov. Whitmer kidnap plotter

DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors recommended a nine-year prison sentence Wednesday for a man who said he worked on a wild plan to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Ty Garbin, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy just four months after being arrested, deserves credit for substantially assisting investigators, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said in a court filing.

“Garbin did not wait to see what his chances were of escaping accountability. He knew what he had done, knew it was wrong, and took action,” Kessler said.

The FBI last October said it broke up a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor by anti-government extremists who were upset over Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions. Garbin and five other men were charged in federal court, while others were charged in state court with aiding them.

Garbin, 25, is the only federal defendant to plead guilty. He will be sentenced on Aug. 25 in federal court in Grand Rapids. The other cases are pending.

He said he and others trained with weapons in Munith, Michigan, and Cambria, Wisconsin, and “discussed the plan to storm the Capitol and kidnap the governor.”

The plot, he said, eventually switched to Whitmer’s second home in Antrim County.

In September, the six men trained at Garbin’s property near Luther, Michigan, constructing a “shoot house” to resemble Whitmer’s vacation home and “assaulting it with firearms,” according to his plea agreement.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker will have flexibility in setting a sentence. In a court filing, Garbin’s attorney didn’t ask for a specific prison term but a punishment that would be less than nine years.

Garbin’s discontent began when coronavirus restrictions on the economy slashed his $28-per-hour wages, attorney Gary Springstead said.

“He was skeptical of unchecked government power to begin with, young and impulsive, personally aggrieved and psychologically predisposed to try to control his feelings of anxiety and vulnerability by taking control of a situation,” Springstead said.

But after being charged, Garbin “’manned up,’ accepted responsibility for his actions, and then set about doing everything in his power to make amends for his actions,” the lawyer said.

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Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez

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