The government, noting Garbin’s exceptional cooperation, asked U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to give him credit for helping investigators reinforce their case against his co-defendants. He’s likely to testify at any trial.
The government sought a nine-year prison term, but Jonker went lower at 6 ¼ years.
Garbin “didn’t hold back,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler said. “He would come out and say, ‘We planned to do this and I was knowingly a part of it.’ He sat for hours answering all of our questions.”
Indeed, defense attorney Gary Springstead told the judge that Garbin “is going to be a star witness” against the others.
“Ty Garbin testified in front of the grand jury in support of the indictment that got him indicted. He is truly, generally and sincerely sorry,” said Mark Satawa, another defense lawyer.
When the kidnapping case was filed in October, Whitmer, a Democrat, pinned some blame on then-President Donald Trump, saying his refusal to denounce far-right groups had inspired extremists across the U.S. It added even more heat to the final weeks of a tumultuous election season.
Whitmer wrote a victim impact statement to the judge, saying, “things will never be the same.”
“Threats continue,” she said in June. “I have looked out my windows and seen large groups of heavily armed people within 30 yards of my home. I have seen myself hung in effigy. Days ago at a demonstration there was a sign that called for ‘burning the witch.’”
Last year, Whitmer put major restrictions on personal movement and the economy because of COVID-19, although many limits have since been lifted. The Michigan Capitol was the site of rallies, including ones with gun-toting protesters calling for the governor’s removal.
“The plots and threats against me, no matter how disturbing, could not deter me from doing everything I could to save as many lives as possible by listening to medical and health experts,” Whitmer said. “To me it is very simple: this had to be the priority.”