By Lauren del Valle, CNN
Monday, February 7, 2022, 5:25 p.m. CST
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Kaleb Franks signed the plea agreement to plead guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy charge about a month before the start of the criminal trial against his alleged co-conspirators. The kidnapping conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, but the plea agreement says prosecutors will seek a lesser sentence for his cooperation.
A court date for Franks to formally enter the guilty plea in court has not been set on the docket. The plea agreement requires his cooperation with the government, but does not specify whether he has already done so.
The indictment alleged that between June 6 and October 7, 2020, the six men charged in the case conspired to “seize, kidnap, kidnap and unlawfully carry away, and hold for ransom and reward” Whitmer.
Authorities said the men planned to kidnap the Democratic governor from a vacation home and blow up a bridge to delay law enforcement, but they were caught first. In addition to those charged in federal court, several other people have been charged in the case by the state.
Franks admitted his involvement with other alleged co-defendants of the “Wolverine Watchmen,” a Michigan-based self-proclaimed “militia” group he met through a Facebook gun group, the deal says. advocacy.
The plea agreement also explicitly states that Franks confirms that he was not framed by two undercover agents who infiltrated the group. Franks’ court-appointed defense attorney has suggested in earlier court documents that he sought to present a theory of defense against entrapment at trial.
“The defendant realized after his arrest that several people he believed to be conspirators were in fact informants or undercover agents, including ‘Dan’ and ‘Steve’ of Confidential Human Sources (CHS). accused was not entrapped or instigated to commit crimes by these individuals.”
Prosecutors have acknowledged that Garbin cooperated significantly with the government against his co-defendants. He is expected to testify against his former co-conspirators at trial.
Four defendants remain as the trial approaches. A final preliminary hearing is set for February 18. The trial is currently scheduled to begin March 8 and last six to eight weeks.
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