Bond denied for 2 Whitmer kidnapping suspects

Michigan News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two men facing charges in connection to an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have been denied release from jail.

A booking photo of Brian Higgins from Columbia County, Wisc.

Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin was charged with material support of an act of terrorism. A judge denied on Thursday denied Higgins bail.

Higgins has another hearing scheduled for Dec. 15. His attorney is expected to file an appeal.

In West Michigan, attorneys for Kaleb Franks filed a motion in federal court Oct. 28 to get him released from jail, citing a chronic medical condition. They said Franks is at high risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19 because he has diabetes.

The attorney argued that Franks is not a “particularly dangerous” suspect, said he owns a house where he lives with his fiancee and mother, has support from his family and that he had a job and volunteered in drug and alcohol recovery programs before being arrested.

An Oct. 7, 2020, booking photo of Kaleb Franks from the Kent County jail.

Judge Robert Jonker on Thursday denied Franks’ request, pointing to evidence showing the seriousness of the case. The judge considered the factors of Franks’ medical condition, a court document says, but also found potential danger to the community through evidence presented in court.

“(Franks) is a danger to the community based on the nature of the instant offense and also poses safety concerns for the community or specific individuals,” the judge said in court.

A total of 14 men accused of taking part in a plot to kidnap Whitmer. Federal authorities say they believed the executive orders she issued in response to the coronavirus were an overreach of her power. They allegedly scoped out her vacation home in northern Michigan, designed and tested bombs, bought a Taser to use in the abduction and even started to work out a plan to blow up a bridge to slow police after the kidnapping.

Informants provided federal authorities with information on the plot and the men were arrested in early October. Six were charged at the federal level; the others face state-level charges.

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