Man who pleaded guilty in Michigan governor kidnap plot sentenced to 4 years

(Reuters) - A man who pleaded guilty to participating in an elaborate plot to kidnap Michigan's governor was sentenced to four years in prison after he served as a key witness in the trial of two co-conspirators as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Kaleb Franks, 28, struck a plea agreement and provided key testimony in the second trial of two men who were eventually convicted of kidnapping conspiracy and other charges in plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. Franks was also fined $2,500.

Franks pleaded guilty to kidnapping conspiracy, a charge punishable by up to life in prison. His sentencing comes weeks after Ty Garbin, who also pleaded guilty and testified in the August retrial, had an initial sentence reduced to 30 months in prison.

"Testifying not only once, but twice, where literally the nation is focused on what you’re doing, it does I think take a greater toll and exact a greater price," U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker said at sentencing, as reported by the Detroit News.

In Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. were found guilty of kidnapping conspiracy and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors said the weapon was an explosive device that they planned to use to disrupt law enforcement's response to a kidnapping, which never took place.

The men, alleged members of the Three Percenters militia group, face the possibility of life in prison at sentencing in December.

Two other men were acquitted of charges at a first trial in April. That same jury was hung on charges against Fox and Croft, which set the stage for the second trial.

(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Alistair Bell)