Defendant in alleged Whitmer kidnap plot agrees to plead guilty

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Militia members, others charged in plot to kidnap Michigan governor

(Reuters) - A defendant charged by the U.S. federal government with plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to plead guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy charge, according to a court document filed on Wednesday.

The defendant, Ty Garbin, was one of six men indicted by a federal grand jury last month in the alleged plot.

Garbin and the other five indicted men, Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, were arrested and charged in October with conspiring to grab Whitmer, a Democrat, from her vacation home earlier this year.

Some of the men belong to an anti-government militia group called Wolverine Watchmen.

Under the plea agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Garbin agreed to cooperate with investigators and prosecutors and to offer his testimony regarding knowledge of the plot.

While the agreement did not obligate the government to recommend a reduced prison sentence for the charge, which carries a maximum term of life in prison, prosecutors said they would decide their recommendation based on Garbin's cooperation.

The indictment accuses the six men of discussing kidnapping Whitmer; meeting in July in Wisconsin to practice using assault rifles; and surveilling Whitmer's vacation home in August and September, mapping out how far it was from the nearest police station.

Prosecutors have said the defendants were angered at the restrictions Whitmer imposed to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York, Editing by Franklin Paul and Richard Chang)