Defense Seeking Dismissal Of Indictment In Plot To Kidnap Governor

Defense attorneys are looking to dismiss the indictment against five men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because of what they described as "egregious overreaching" from federal agents and informants, according to a court filing.

In the 20-page motion, which was filed Saturday night, defense attorneys allege that FBI agents and federal prosecutors fabricated a conspiracy and entrapped people who could be facing up to life in prison. They’re asking U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to dismiss the conspiracy charge, which would effectively nullify the federal government’s case as well as other connected charges.

The request comes after developments and claims about the government’s team, including the conviction of Richard Trask, an FBI special agent who was arrested on a domestic violence charge, then later fired and convicted of a misdemeanor.

Trask was accused of beating his wife's head against a nightstand and choking her following an argument about their attendance at a swingers' party in July.

Defense attorneys have used Trask's conduct to call the other FBI agents working on the case into question, asking for a 90-day delay in the trial while they investigate their behavior as well.

Prosecutors also moved Trask to a witness in court proceedings, citing previous social media posts that were critical of former President Donald Trump.

"Essentially, the evidence here demonstrates egregious overreaching by the government’s agents, and by the informants, those agents handled," defense attorneys wrote. "When the government was faced with evidence showing that the defendants had no interest in a kidnapping plot, it refused to accept failure and continued to push its plan."

Five people have been charged with kidnapping conspiracy and will stand trial on March 8 in Grand Rapids. They have pleaded not guilty and claim to be victims of entrapment.

Federal prosecutors have maintained that the men were not entrapped. The government claimed the men were upset over coronavirus restrictions when they conspired to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, even scouting her second home in northern Michigan.

In January, a sixth man, 26-year-old Ty Garbin, pleaded guilty and is serving a six-year federal prison sentence.


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