by Scott McClallen
A man upset over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 policies plead guilty to one count of a kidnapping conspiracy and accepted a plea deal to serve six years and three months in prison.
Ty Garbin, 25, is the only known member of the Michigan militia group “Wolverine Watchmen” to plead guilty to the alleged plot.
Federal prosecutors suggested he serve a nine-year sentence, citing his cooperation with authorities and plans to testify against other alleged kidnappers.
“It’s hard to overstate how significant Mr. Garbin’s cooperation was here,” Assistant United States Attorney Nils Kessler told Chief Judge Robert Jonker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. “Having somebody who’s part of this agreement say this wasn’t just big talk; we really meant to do it is a huge thing, and it’s going to be important to the jury when he testifies.”
Jonker accepted a plea deal of six years and three months.
In a statement, Garbin apologized to Whitmer and her family, saying, “I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of stress and fear her family members felt because of my actions.”
Garbin and five others were arrested in October 2020 after a months-long investigation by state and federal law enforcement. The men were frustrated over Whitmer’s far-reaching actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 that involved shuttering most economic activity, throwing millions out of work, and spiking the unemployment rate to 22.7%.
The five others – Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta – are scheduled to stand trial on Oct. 12. The men allegedly trained together several times to plan for the kidnapping. They claim entrapment by federal law enforcement.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.