- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 27, 2021

One of the six men facing federal charges in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges Wednesday, giving prosecutors their first conviction in a case that captured the nation’s attention.

Ty Garbin, 25, of Hartland Township, Michigan, switched to a guilty plea during a court hearing Wednesday morning, the Justice Department said in an announcement. He will be sentenced on July 8, and faces life in prison without parole.

Garbin is the only defendant to plead guilty in the case. In addition to the five individuals facing federal charges, eight others are facing state charges.

A trial for the remaining federal defendants is scheduled to start on March 23.

Flipping one of the defendants is a major coup for prosecutors, hoping his testimony and evidence could bolster their case against the other suspects.

Under his plea deal, Garbin will “fully cooperate” with the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office, the Michigan State Police and the Office of the U.S. Attorney General, court documents revealed.

He also agreed to submit to polygraph tests and testify against others in the plot.

When the judge asked Garbin if he had second thoughts, he replied, “I do not, your honor.”

Garbin was arrested three months ago, accused of plotting to kidnap Ms. Whitmer because of the restrictions she imposed across the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The co-defendants are accused of scheming to kidnap the Democratic governor and leave her in the middle of Lake Michigan. They also talked about “taking out” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and other elected officials, including former President Donald Trump.

Defense lawyers say their clients were all talk, exercising their First Amendment rights, and never had any intention of carrying out the plot.

Prosecutors say that Garbin was a willing participant in the scheme. They say he hosted training sessions at his home in Northern Michigan, where he helped build an improvised explosive device.

In his plea agreement, Garbin admitted that he and others trained with weapons last summer and discussed a plan to storm the state Capitol and kidnap the government. The plot ultimately switched to kidnapping Ms. Whitmer from her vacation home.

Garbin acknowledged that he advocated waiting until after the election to kidnap Ms. Whitmer because widespread civil unrest would make it easier for them to operate, according to court documents.

He also admitted that he allowed some of the co-defendants to train at his property, even going so far as to build a house to resemble Ms. Whitmer’s vacation home for them to shoot at, the plea deal revealed.

Garbin also sent a text to someone who turned out to be a government informant suggesting that police wouldn’t be able to respond to the kidnapping plot if a nearby bridge was blown up.

Garbin’s guilty plea is somewhat of a twist in the already unusual case. His attorney last fall insisted that Garbin had no intention of kidnapping the governor.

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