Man who pleaded guilty in Whitmer kidnapping plot testifies for prosecution at trial

Ty Garbin
Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 18:21:03-04

(WXYZ) — One of the prosecution's star witnesses in the trial against the men charged with plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took the stand in federal court on Wednesday.

Ty Garbin of Harland was on the stand for three hours, telling the jury step by step how he participated in the conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer in 2020 because of the state's COVID-19 restrictions.

Garbin testified he was a member of the Wolverine Watchmen militia and they discussed making the “s—t hit the fan” with a Boogaloo that he described as a movement with multiple anti-government ideologies.

“The plan was for us to be the ignition to it and hopefully other states would follow suit,” Garbin testified.

Garbin also testified they wanted to kidnap Whitmer because they were concerned Joe Biden would win the election in 2020 and she would get a job in Biden's Cabinet.

Garbin was one of six people charged by the feds, but he took a plea deal and has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Daniel Harris of Lake Orion, Brandon Caserta of Canton Township, Adam Fox of Grand Rapids, And Barry Croft of Delaware are on trial and face up to life in prison if convicted.

During his testimony for the government, Garbin verified several videos and undercover recordings made during the investigation in 2020.

In August, as the planning was continuing, some members of the group expressed concerns about being “infiltrated by the FBI or a confidential informant.” That’s how the government developed its case. Caserta called a meeting to have members of the group come and show identification to prove who they are using a driver’s license or birth certificate.

The plan was to kidnap Whitmer from her Up North home in Elk Rapids and blow up a nearby bridge to slow down police response.

The evidence presented included videos of training with guns.

Only 7 Action News cameras were rolling when Garbin's home in Hartland was raided after two dozen men had been arrested by the feds and Michigan State Police.

Defense attorneys told the jury in opening statements their clients were big talkers who didn’t intend to carry out a plot. Some of the defendants are also using an entrapment defense saying they were enticed to carry out the plot by the undercover informants and FBI agents.

The prosecutor asked Garbin on the stand, “did anyone make you join the conspiracy?” He answered, “no.”

The defense cross-examination got underway on Wednesday afternoon.