Ty Garbin, one of six defendants in the federal case surrounding the alleged conspiracy, pleaded guilty in January to a kidnapping conspiracy charge, cooperating significantly with federal prosecutors against his co-defendants.
Prosecutors had asked the federal judge to sentence Garbin to about nine years, praising him for his cooperation.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of Mr. Garbin’s cooperation here,” a federal prosecutor told the court. “He didn’t hold back. He would come right over and say, “We had planned to do it and I was a part of it. “”
Authorities had transferred Garbin to another prison pending his sentencing in an attempt to protect him from reprisals from his co-conspirators, court documents show.
Garbin spoke briefly in court on Wednesday to apologize to Whitmer and his family.
“Your Honor, I would first like to take this opportunity to apologize to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her family. I had a lot of time to think about my actions. And I never realized what my actions would have caused him, but also his family, ”he said. “I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of stress and fear his family members felt because of my actions. And for that, I am very sorry. “
Garbin said he would work with an advocacy group to continue de-radicalizing and helping others not to radicalize.
In rendering his decision at the hearing, District Chief Justice Robert Jonker said he believed Garbin was genuinely on the road to rehabilitation.
“He changed his behavior, that’s for sure. I think he also changed his heart and mind. And I think he’s a great prospect to take law-abiding paths once he’s finished paying for these very serious mistakes, ”the judge said.
Jonker read excerpts from a victim impact statement the governor submitted before sentencing.
“There is room for grace and rehabilitation for those who recognize the danger that has been unleashed and help unearth the hatred that has taken root in our society. It will help restore the ideals and aspirations that have made our nation a beacon of possibility and opportunity to the rest of the world, ”Whitmer wrote.
She did not ask for financial restitution.
The indictment alleged that between June 6 and October 7, 2020, the men conspired to “seize, kidnap, kidnap and take away illegally, and detain for ransom and reward” Whitmer. Authorities said the men planned to kidnap the governor from a vacation home and blow up a bridge to delay law enforcement, but were arrested first.
In addition to those indicted by a federal court, several other people have been indicted in the case by the state.
The FBI learned of the alleged scheme in early 2020 through a social media group, according to the federal criminal complaint, The Detroit News reported.
CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.