Oct 16 (Reuters) - Five men suspected of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer were being held without bail on Friday and were ordered to face a grand jury trial on federal charges that could land them in prison for life if convicted.
Adam Fox, an alleged leader in the plot that resulted in 14 arrests in the last two weeks, waived his right to a bail hearing on Friday while U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Berens denied bail to defendant Ty Garbin on the grounds that he posed a risk to the community.
Fox and Garbin are among six people who face federal charges for conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat assailed by Republican President Donald Trump and right-wing extremists for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Eight other suspects in the plot, all of them described by prosecutors as members or associates of an anti-government militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen, face state charges in Michigan for their alleged participation in the scheme.
Mark Satawa, an attorney for Garbin, argued that his client should be permitted to be released and put under house arrest at his parents' home, saying there was not yet sufficient evidence that Garbin posed a threat and that he had an "admirable personal record" with no criminal history.
"There is nothing about a tether and being at your parents' home that would prevent you from leaving and continuing the conspiracy," Judge Berens said in response.
Berens presided over a second day of hearings for five suspects at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on Friday. She ruled that there was probable cause to support the charges and that the five men would face a trial by grand jury.
On Tuesday, Berens ordered three of the defendants - Brandon Caserta, Daniel Harris and Kaleb Franks - to be held without bail, citing the risk they posed to the community.
A sixth co-defendant, Barry Croft, was being transferred to Michigan from Delaware after his arrest on Oct. 8, according to court documents. (Reporting by Gabriella Borter Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis)