Court: Motions denied in Whitmer kidnapping plot case

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A judge has denied several motions made by the attorneys for the men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

According to court documents, at least one defendant filed a number of motions over concerns about evidence. A judge heard arguments about other motions Tuesday, but the motions were filed too late to make it into that hearing.


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The prosecution had argued that most motions made by the defendants should be tossed out because they were “untimely” and included brief arguments at the hearing.

The court decided that the motions were timely but it rejected them anyway because it said they didn’t have merit.

Two defense motions were determined to be premature because they addressed potential issues with evidence that hasn’t been submitted yet. That includes arguments over proposed transcripts and out-of-court statements that could implicate other defendants.

“Neither side has produced or exchanged proposed transcripts yet,” the judge wrote in a ruling. “… as for possible (statements that could implicate another defendant), no defendant has identified any particular statement yet.”

The court added that the government plans to redact anything that implicates an individual.

The motions may be refiled in the future if a problem does arise with evidence, the judge said.


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Another motion filed addressed co-conspirator statements and how they would be handled. The court said it would handle such statements “the same way it has in every other conspiracy trial it has handled over the past 15 years: namely, by admitting the statements along the way” — although it noted there may be further argument over them in the future.

“The Court sees nothing in the examples that the defense motion identifies to warrant a categorical exclusion of the party admission in advance,” the judge wrote.

The court said it recognized that both sides might have an issue with particular statements, but that the examples the defense used in its motion do not warrant exclusion right now.

Defendant Kaleb Franks also appealed a previous motion for failure to disclose a discovery by the government. The court upheld an earlier denial.

Six men were charged at the federal level in the alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer, which authorities said they busted in October 2020. Several other men were charged at the state level. Authorities say the suspects, members of an antigoverment militia, were angry about Whitmer’s use of executive orders to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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