Closing arguments are set Friday, after only one of the four men on trial for plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer testified before the defense rested their case Thursday.
Daniel Harris was the sole defendant to take the stand after several days of testimony from undercover FBI agents, an informant and two men who were part of the plot, but later pleaded guilty. Among them is Ty Garbin of Hartland Township. He testified last week that the group hoped to strike before the 2020 election, in order to cause chaos and prevent Joe Biden from winning the presidency.
Harris, Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., and Brandon Caserta are charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home in northern Michigan in retaliation for her COVID-19 restrictions.
The 24-year-old Harris, a former Marine, said he joined the militia group known as the Wolverine Watchmen because he wanted to maintain his infantry skills and not because he had any desire to kidnap Whitmer.
However, the atmosphere became heated when a prosecutor questioned Harris about chat messages in which he suggested he could pretend to be a pizza delivery person and kill Whitmer at her door.
Prosecutors contend that a so-called “shoot house” which was constructed on land Garbin owner in Luther, Michigan was intended to resemble Whitmer’s vacation home. While Harris admitted he brought materials to build the structure, he denied it was for that purpose.
The accused plotters were arrested in October 2020 after authorities say they discussed raising $4,000 to purchase an explosive that would be used blow up a bridge near Whitmer’s vacation home in order to slow up police responding to the kidnapping.
Defense attorneys claim the men were merely big talkers who were coaxed by agents and informants but had no intention to carry out a kidnapping.