Man jailed over role in extremist plot to kidnap Michigan governor

Ty Garbin and others driven by anger about Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to slow spread of Covid-19

Ty Garbin, one of the men charged by federal authorities with plotting to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. Garbin, has been sentenced to six years and three months in prison. Photograph: Kent County Sheriff via The New York Times

The only defendant to plead guilty to taking part in a plot to kidnap a US governor has been sentenced to six years and three months in prison.

Ty Garbin (25), an airplane mechanic, was the first defendant to be sentenced for what prosecutors have described as an extremist plot driven by anger at the Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The 14 men arrested in October face charges in federal and state courts in one of the most significant domestic terrorism plots ever to come to trial in the United States.

The defendants, many of them members of an anti-government paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen, coalesced around protests against lockdown measures.


After initially weighing storming the state Capitol in Lansing, they decided to abduct Ms Whitmer from her holiday home, according to prosecutors.

Their efforts were seen as a precursor to the violence unleashed at the US Capitol on January 6th last.

Garbin cooperated extensively with the prosecutors, who called his “wide-ranging insider’s view” a significant contribution to the case.

Among other issues, he testified about plans to deploy a homemade explosive device as well as other illegal weapons. His testimony resulted in added federal charges being brought against three of the men in April.

The extent of Garbin’s cooperation led officials to move him to a different prison from the others, prosecutors said in court papers.

‘Fear and stress’

On Wednesday, Garbin apologised to Ms Whitmer and her family for the “fear and stress” that he caused.

Ms Whitmer wrote a victim impact statement for the court that, while acknowledging that forgiveness was important, noted that danger from similar groups still exists.

“Kidnapping plots and death threats endanger not just individuals, but democracy itself,” she wrote in part.

The sentence on Wednesday in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was just one part of the complex legal proceedings surrounding the case. Adherents of paramilitary movements from as far away as Delaware and Wisconsin are among the accused, with the six defendants facing federal charges set to go on trial on October 12th. The remaining eight will be tried in two different state courts. - New York Times