A Michigan man admits to taking part in a plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer by an extremist group.
Ty Garbin, 25, is the only one out of the more than a dozen men facing state and federal charges in connection with the scheme to plead guilty. Five of the defendants in federal court have pled not guilty and will go on trial in October, NBC News reported.
Garbin was sentenced to 75 months in prison, three years of probation, and a $2,500 fine by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker.
According to authorities, Mr. Garbin and five others were arrested and charged with kidnapping conspiracy last October after meeting multiple times to discuss plans to kidnap Ms. Whitmer and performing reconnaissance at her vacation home at least twice. Prosecutors claimed that part of their strategy included planting explosives under a bridge near the property to impede law enforcement response.
According to the Wall Street Journal, they also rehearsed storming various imitation buildings. In addition, they occasionally met inside one of the accused co-conspirators’ companies, which could only be entered through a secret trap door.
During the sentencing hearing, Garbin apologized to Whitmer, who was not there.
“First, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her family,” he told the court. “I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my actions, and I never realized what my actions would have caused to her, but also her family.
“I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of stress and fear her family members felt because of my actions, and for that I’m truly sorry,” he said.
In explaining why he was granted a lighter sentence than federal guidelines required, Jonker noted Garbin’s “concrete” actions that demonstrated he was taking responsibility for his actions.
“That’s what’s more impressive to me here, and not just the words of Mr. Garbin that he’s abandoning this path, but the things he’s done, concrete things he’s done, to demonstrate that he means it.”
Government lawyers said Garbin extensively aided the government’s probe by offering “a wide-ranging insider’s view of the conspiracy.”
Last year, because of COVID-19, Whitmer imposed significant limitations on personal movement and the economy, though many of those restrictions have eased. The Michigan Capitol was the site of rallies that included gun-toting demonstrators asking for the governor’s ousting.
The protests were joined by some of those suspected in the conspiracy, including defendants prosecuted in state court. According to prosecutors, the mastermind discussed enlisting 200 men to storm the facility, kidnap hostages, and “execute tyrants.”