GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Wolverine Watchmen militia member Kaleb Franks, who has already pleaded guilty to a plot to kidnap the governor, has testified that he and the others were not entrapped by government informants.
The informant known as Big Dan, he said, “never egged things on.”
However, acknowledged on Friday under cross-examination that he told FBI agents on the day of his arrest that, “Dan fueled Adam’s fire.”
Adam Fox, he has testified, was the leader of the conspiracy.
But, on the day of his arrest in October 2020, Franks told FBI agents that Fox was a “horrible shot” and that he didn’t take him seriously. He called Fox a “LARPER” — short for someone involved in live-action role playing, or make-believe.
Franks, 27, is one of two former militia members who have pleaded guilty of conspiracy and who have testified in the trial against the four remaining suspects: Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta.
He has testified that he, Harris and Ty Garbin, all members of the Wolverine Watchmen, agreed while on a hike that they would follow Fox’s kidnapping plan. Garbin has also pleaded guilty and testified against the four.
However, under cross-examination, Franks acknowledged that he told the FBI agents on the day of his arrest that he thought Fox’s plan was “unrealistic,” and that he and the others agreed they wouldn’t follow it.
Franks later testified that he was lying to the FBI agents on the day he was arrested.
“I was untruthful during that interview because I’m not wanting to go to jail,” he said.
Federal prosecutors also played a secretly recorded call, the day after his arrest, in which Franks agreed that Fox was a ringleader.
Prosecutors said they expect to wrap up their case by the end of next week. After that, defense attorneys will get their chance.
During a break on Friday, after the jury left the courtroom, Croft’s attorney, Joshua Blanchard, pointed out to the judge that a juror had “spent most of the morning sleeping.”
U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker responded: “The key is keeping them interested and engaged.”
The trial continues Monday.