Militia Scrapped Plan to Storm Michigan Capitol, Favored Kidnapping Whitmer

A plan by the Wolverine Watchmen militia group to storm the Michigan state Capitol with snipers and other armed men was scrapped in favor of a plot to attempt to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer, new court documents show.

As part of a plea deal in a federal court filing obtained by Newsweek on Monday, group member Kaleb Franks will plead guilty to kidnapping conspiracy. He joined the Wolverine Watchmen in the spring of 2020, then started meeting with other members, some of whom allegedly began to plot Whitmer's kidnapping.

As part of the deal, Franks "agrees to fully cooperate with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Attorney General, and any other law enforcement agency" investigating the plot.

According to the deal, Franks and group member Ty Garbin thought the plan to kidnap was too difficult to pull off and was unrealistic, but the group eventually shifted away from storming the Capitol to kidnapping Whitmer because of her COVID-19 prevention policies.

"The defendant and Garbin believed that plan was not feasible with the group's available manpower, training, and equipment," the deal states. "[Adam] Fox also proposed kidnapping [Whitmer] from other locations as an alternative. Fox and [Barry] Croft discussed waiting until the upcoming election, when they thought law enforcement resources would be spread thin responding to civil unrest.

​​"The defendant [Franks] understood they were using encrypted communications to conceal discussion of illegal activity from law enforcement."

The deal details training exercises that Franks and other members of the group participated in on June 28, July 10 to 12, and September 12 and 13. The last one featured the only training exercises made directly in conjunction with the kidnapping plot, as the exercises in June and July involved general gun practice.

The deal also reveals that Franks, along with another unnamed member of the militia, had to be "vetted" to formally join. However, it does not disclose what the vetting process entailed. Franks, Garbin, Fox, Croft, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were members of the group.

Garbin, who changed his plea to guilty in January of 2021 and cooperated with authorities, was sentenced to 75 months in prison for providing material support for terrorist acts and on felony firearms charges.

Newsweek reached out to Scott Graham, who is representing Franks.

Update 2/7/22, 3:58 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

Boogaloo Boys
The Boogaloo Boys, who had two members in the Wolverine Watchmen stand on the steps of the Capitol Building during a rally on October 17, 2020, in Lansing, Michigan. The Boogaloo Boys called it a unity rally in an attempt to distance themselves from the Wolverine Watchmen, who allegedly plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Photo by Seth Herald/Getty Images