'Crackpots’: How attorneys plan to defend Michigan men accused in Gov. Whitmer kidnapping plot

Defense attorneys plan to present different story

New information in Whitmer kidnapping plot: Was it an intricate plan or just talk?
New information in Whitmer kidnapping plot: Was it an intricate plan or just talk?

As some of the men accused in the domestic terror plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appear in court, we’re getting our first look at how the defense attorneys plan to present a much different story.

“Was this really an intricate plan or just a whole lot of talk?” That’s the line we could soon see playing out in court.

The defense attorney for Ty Garbin -- one of 13 people charged after FBI agents uncovered the scheme -- has started to put his plan in motion. He is well-known for defending the “Hutaree,” a group formerly accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

“She has a family and kids,” law enforcement expert Steve Dolunt said. “(To plan to) kill her, kidnap her -- totally out of the realm of common sense.”

Dolunt has a lifetime of law enforcement under his belt. As he follows the court proceedings in this domestic terror case, he said the defense of the men charged is taking shape.

One of the defense attorney called the men “crackpots," saying their deliberations were all talk.

Garbin’s attorney successfully defended the “Hutaree” group in Adrian, which the FBI accused of planning a violent revolt.

FBI agents said they have 100 hours or more of audio that reveals members of the group planning to attack the Capitol Building and kidnap Whitmer.

Three men from Metro Detroit are heard saying they favored shooting the governor, according to the FBI.

Some of the men surveilled Whitmer’s summer home and practiced making explosive devices, officials said.

FBI agents said three men from Metro Detroit were key players who were close to putting the plan into action. Authorities plan to present a mountain of evidence.

“They are our next-door neighbors,” Dolunt said. “They are not all from the country. They are intelligent and they watch social media and buy into everything.”


About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.