Airplane mechanic sentenced to 75 months in prison for plot to kidnap Michigan governor


(LANSING, Mich.) — The first sentencing in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year was handed down Wednesday afternoon.

Ty Garbin, a 25-year-old airplane mechanic, was sentenced to 75 months in prison for charges of providing material support for terrorist acts and felony firearms charges. He will then serve three years of supervised released and has also been fined $2,500.

He must also seek substance abuse treatment and all computer use must be approved, the judge said.

Garbin initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed his plea and cooperated with investigators within weeks of being arrested, The Associated Press reported. He willingly put a “target on his back to begin his own redemption,” according to a court filing by the Department of Justice.

Prosecutors had previously asked U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to take Garbin’s cooperation into consideration during sentencing, recommending that Garbin serve a nine-year prison term.

Garbin’s defense attorney, Gary Springstead, asked the judge to take into account Garbin’s life both before and after the conspiracy. Not only did Garbin not have a criminal record prior to the plot, but he suffered psychological, physical and emotional abuse by his father all his life, which predisposed him to “becoming swept up in a group such as that charged in the current indictment,” Springstead said.

In additional, Garbin has accepted responsibility for his actions and has testified twice, including “in front of the grand jury in support of the indictment that got him indicted,” Springstead said.

Prosecutors said Garbin “filled in a lot of gaps” in the investigation, especially for conversations he had with other defendants that undercover agents were not present for. The testimonies included multiple debriefings and hours of interviews, in which he answered all of the questions asked of him.

Garbin will likely be a star witness in the trials going forward, prosecutors said.

The guideline range for Garbin’s charges was 168 to 210, but Jonker sentenced Garbin to 75 months, taking into consideration the seriousness of the offense, the need for public deterrence and Garbin’s willingness to take responsibility for his actions.

Garbin apologized to Whitmer when given the chance to speak in court.

“I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my actions, and I never realized what my actions would have caused to her, but also her family,” he said, adding that he was also “selfish” for not taking into account how his actions would affect his own family and friends.

Thirteen other men have been charged for orchestrating the plot to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, which was thwarted by the FBI in October.

The men had also planned a paramilitary operation that included sinister plots to execute government officials, storm the Capitol building with explosives and send bombs codenamed “cupcakes,” according to the FBI.

The Michigan State Capitol had been the scene of numerous protests by right-wing activists — some of them armed — during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Some called for Whitmer’s resignation due to the lockdown order she put in place.

Whitmer blamed then-President Donald Trump for “stoking” hate in the country.

“This should be a moment for national unity where we all pull together as Americans to meet this challenge head on with the same might and muscle that put a man on the moon,” Whitmer said at a press conference on Oct. 8, 2020, the day the news of the plot was released. “Instead our head of state has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust and fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread hatred and division.”

Whitmer later described the plat against her as “shocking” in an interview with “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang last year.

“It really is something that is so personal and so serious,” she said. “If you heard this fact pattern and you are describing something like ISIS, you wouldn’t be surprised. This is happening right here in the United States of America. That’s domestic terrorism.”

ABC News’ Allie Yang contributed to this report.

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