2nd Whitmer Kidnapper to Plead Guilty, Says No Entrapment Involved

A second member of the group charged with plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer is going to plead guilty and testify against his co-defendants.

Kaleb Franks, 27, will plead guilty to kidnapping conspiracy, which is punishable by up to life in federal prison, according to a plea deal filed in court Monday. 

The deal includes a section aimed at fighting an expected entrapment defense during next month’s trial that includes four other defendants. The section appears aimed at proving the defendants were predisposed to committing the crime, a requirement needed in order to secure convictions at trial. Prosecutors were anticipating a defense that undercover FBI agents had entrapped the men into conspiring to kidnap the governor.

Kaleb Franks, Brandon Caserta, Adam Fox, (from bottom) Daniel Harris, Barry Croft, and Ty Garbin

The deal contradicts the entrapment defense that he and his co-defendants have been hammering away at for months:

“The defendant knowingly and voluntarily joined that agreement.”

And so did his alleged cohorts, states Franks’ plea deal, which harpoons the heart of the groups’ defense: that paid informants who infiltrated their group induced them into saying and doing things that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

One other defendant, Ty Garbin, has already pleaded guilty.

The court documents provide new insights into the plot that unfolded throughout the summer and fall of 2020, which allegedly began for Franks when he met members of the Wolverine Watchmen, a militia in Michigan. The group met for tactical training, assembling homemade bombs, and casing the governor’s vacation home.

Freep, Detroit News