Judge orders five defendants in domestic terror plot against Michigan governor to stand trial

Prosecutors argue men were amateurs with intentions to act

Federal judge orders 5 defendants in Whitmer kidnapping plot to stand trial

DETROIT – Lawyers for defendants in the domestic terror plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer say their clients were all talk and never planned to intentionally carry out the plan.

Recently, the focus in the case has been on Hartland resident TY Garbin.

According to the FBI, he hosted the plotting group on his own property to allegedly continue to train and plan to kidnap the governor. Garbin’s lawyer argues those actions are protected by the constitution.

Since the plot to kidnap the governor hit like a bombshell last week, the Local 4 Defenders have been focused on Garbin and two other men from Metro Detroit who the FBI says are not just part of the group.

They say Daniel Harris of Lake Orion, Kaleb Franks of Waterford and Garbin were allegedly leaders of the group and wanted to kill the governor.

A hearing to see if the FBI has enough evidence on all the federally charged continued Friday.

Attorneys for Garbin and accused ringleader Adam Fox argued that talking about kidnapping the governor and storming the Capitol is protected free speech. The lawyers also argue that the meetings held on Garbin’s property are protected lawful assembly.

However, US Magistrate Judge Sally Berens blew the defense’s arguments out of the water.

Prosecutors say the men were amateurs with intentions to act.

The judge says a plan does not have to go into action to be guilty of conspiracy. She says the men relentlessly planned and trained.

Fox and Garbin were arrested Oct. 7 by the FBI. The judge says there is more than enough evidence to show the two were trying to buy parts for a bomb.

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About the Author:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.