Five men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor will face trial after a failed bid to have their case dismissed.
In a Tuesday ruling, Judge Robert A. Jonker rejected the bid of five Michigan men to dismiss their charges after the alleged plotters argued that there was “egregious overreaching” by federal agents and informants involved in their arrests. The five defendants have all pleaded not guilty, arguing they are all victims of entrapment by federal authorities.
In his ruling, Jonker said the defendants “fail to carry their burden” of showing indisputable evidence of entrapment before trial, BuzzFeed News reported. Jonker said the entrapment allegation would ultimately be decided by a jury.
In October 2020, FBI agents broke up the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) by extremists upset over coronavirus restrictions placed on the state. Six people were charged, but one of the men ― 26-year-old Ty Garbin ― pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy charges and has since provided authorities with information related to the plot.
As part of his plea agreement, Garbin provided authorities with six pages of testimony discussing plans to kidnap the governor. Garbin said he and the five defendants trained with weapons and “discussed the plan to storm the Capitol and kidnap the governor,” according to his testimony. In September 2020, the six men trained at Garbin’s property and constructed a “shoot house” to resemble Whitmer’s vacation home, the plea deal said.
Garbin, who will be a witness during the trial testifying against his former partners, was sentenced to six years for his role in the plot.
A jury trial has been set for March 8 for the five other defendants.