Kaleb James Franks agreed to testify against other members of right wing militia group accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. Photo via Kent County Sheriff's Office/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A right-wing militia member charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleaded guilty Wednesday, becoming the second of six alleged conspirators to reach a plea deal in the case.
Kaleb James Franks of Waterford, Mich., pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to kidnap during an appearance in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich., ABC News and the Grand Rapids Press reported.
Franks, 26, could face up to life in prison if convicted. He reached a plea agreement filed earlier this week in which he agreed to testify against the four remaining members of the Wolverine Watchmen militia group now awaiting trial.
As part of the plea deal, Franks also stated that his participation in the plot to abduct Whitmer was not made at the urging of authorities trying to "entrap" the defendants, which could counter defense arguments made at their upcoming trials.
When asked Wednesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Phillip Green if he agreed with what the plea deal stated, Franks answered, "Yes, sir."
Ty Garbin, 25, of Hartland Township, Mich., pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges in January 2021 and was later sentenced to more than six years in prison. Like Franks, Garbin agreed to "fully cooperate" with the FBI in its investigation into the October 2020 kidnapping plot, including testifying against his co-conspirators if necessary.
The remaining defendants include Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Joseph Harris and Brandon Caserta.
The FBI, which had an undercover agent meeting with the conspirators, arrested them in connection with the plot. Investigators said they had hundreds of hours of audio recordings, surveillance video and other evidence laying out the defendants' involvement in the plan-making.
The plot allegedly involved kidnapping Whitmer, holding a trial accusing her of treason and executing her. The men were upset over the Democratic governor's guidelines and policies for battling the COVID-19 pandemic.