Whitmer kidnapping suspect seeks release due to COVID-19 risk

Michigan News

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

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Attorneys for one of the men facing federal charges for allegedly planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are seeking to get him released from jail, citing a chronic medical condition.

In a motion filed in federal court Oct. 28, attorneys say Kaleb Franks is at high risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19 because he has diabetes.

The attorney argues 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.

In a response to the motion filed Monday, the U.S Attorney’s Office asserted that Franks poses a risk to others, citing the seriousness of the case against him.

The judge has yet to make a ruling on whether Franks should be released on bond.

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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