Whitmer kidnap suspect requests release from jail on health concerns: report

Lawyer highlights Kaleb Franks' diabetes, fear of COVID-19 and spotty past in request for release

After being locked up for three weeks, one of the suspects charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking a judge to reconsider her decision to keep him behind bars as he’s afraid of contracting the coronavirus, according to a local news report.

In court documents filed earlier this week, the lawyer for Kaleb Franks argued that his client, who is a recovering addict, has turned his life around after doing time for cocaine and home invasion. Franks suffers from diabetes and high cholesterol, takes insulin daily and fears contracting COVID-19, per Detroit Free Press.

The filing provides more insight into the life of the 26-year-old defendant known as ‘Red Hot,’ who claims he’s not a flight risk and not a threat to society, despite the judge’s conclusion on Oct. 13 that “he remains a danger to the community.”

In a photo provided by the Kent County Sheriff, Kaleb Franks is shown in a booking photo. (Kent County Sheriff via AP)

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Court records and testimony indicate that Franks was part of the surveillance operation and was one of five suspects who drove to a meeting with the intention of buying explosives and tactical gear, but was arrested in what turned out to be an FBI setup.

But Scott Graham, the attorney representing Franks, argues that his client’s role in the FBI setup was minimal and that “he took $23, hardly a ‘down payment’ for anything.”

Hoping to change the judge’s mind about bond, Graham wrote in court documents: “Mr. Franks has been sober since he went to jail in 2013. Using his own past experiences as background, he had turned to helping others struggling with addiction. He represents the ideal of a once-drug-offender turning his life around.”

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Prosecutors, however, portray Franks in a totally different light.

Hoping to convince the judge to deny Franks bond, the prosecution said: “Franks participated in casing Whitmer’s cottage, made a comment that he was in for anything, as long as it was well-planned; expressed concerns about FBI infiltrators and the possibility of the plot being detected; and participated in acquiring firearms without serial numbers, so they couldn’t be traced by police.”

In total, 14 men have been charged in the Whitmer plot. Only two have been released on bond.

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