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Nov. 26, 2022

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Key insider in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot seeks freedom

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A star witness who testified against others in the plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor asked a judge Friday to greatly reduce his prison sentence and release him from custody.

Ty Garbin wants more than four years cut off his 6 1/4-year sentence for conspiracy. Prosecutors agree that a break is justified, but they’re recommending only a three-year reduction.

The decision rests with U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker.

Garbin, 26, has been in custody for about two years since his arrest in 2020. He quickly cooperated with investigators and pleaded guilty to conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home in northern Michigan.

He said the goal was to spark a civil war, known among right-wing extremists as the “boogaloo.” The FBI, which had agents and informants inside the group, stopped the plot.

Garbin testified at two trials. The first, last spring, ended with acquittals for Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta and no verdicts for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr.

Fox and Croft were convicted at a second trial that ended on Aug. 23 in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Mr. Garbin’s testimony was a key in refuting the defendants’ assertions that they were framed or entrapped by the government,” attorney Mark Satawa said in a court filing.

He said Garbin’s work isn’t done yet: He’s due to testify for prosecutors in separate but related cases filed against others in state court.

Federal prisoners routinely get credit for good behavior, which can shave months off a sentence. But Satawa noted that Garbin has been held in local jails because prosecutors need him nearby. As a result, he can’t get that credit.

Kaleb Franks, 28, also pleaded guilty and testified for the government. He has not been sentenced yet.

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