Michigan man who plotted to kidnap Gov. Whitmer gets 4 years in prison

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Michigan man who plotted to kidnap Gov. Whitmer gets 4 years in prison

A Michigan man who plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was sentenced in 2020 to four years in prison Thursday, federal prosecutors said.

Kaleb Franks, 28, is the second person sentenced in a plan to abduct Whitmer, a Democrat, which the government has said was orchestrated by anti-government extremists.

He pleaded guilty in February to kidnapping conspiracy and cooperated with prosecutors, testifying at a trial in August that resulted in the convictions of two men accused of being the ringleaders, Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr.

Federal prosecutors said in court documents that the plan went beyond abducting the governor.

The trial evidence, including Franks' testimony, shows that Croft and Fox intended to murder the Governor in order to trigger a civil war, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

The group Franks was involved with called the Wolverine Watchmen, styling itself as a militia group, according to court documents.

Franks' attorney, Scott Graham, wrote in court documents that Franks was a minor participant in all this and that he was emotionally lost and looking for acceptance. His stepbrother, his second stepfather and his mother all died in the years before the plan, Graham wrote.

He has followed the wrong people here. He did not lead them. Graham wrote in his sentencing memo that he masterminded nothing.

Six people were indicted federally in the case: four pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial, and a jury acquitted two, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta.

Ty Garbin, the second man who pleaded guilty, cooperated with prosecutors and testified at trial and was sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Garbin was initially sentenced to 75 months, or 6 years, in August 2021, and the sentence was reduced later.

Fox and Croft were not sentenced. According to court records, Fox is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 12, and Croft is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 28.

The investigation began when a Army veteran, Dan Chappel, joined the Watchmen group in early 2020 but became alarmed by talk of killing police. He was an FBI informant and was a key witness at trial.

Franks' attorney, Graham, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday night.