Defense Seeks Immunity for FBI Agents in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot
An attorney for one of the five men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) made an unusual request: immunity for FBI agents and informants involved in the case.
Scott Graham, the attorney for defendant Kaleb Franks, wrote in a court filing that the “illegal and unethical” use of confidential informants complicates the case. The agents were “intertwined in the alleged criminal activity” and have every reason to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights, Graham wrote.
Graham requested that U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jonker compel the government to grant immunity to its agents and sources, whose testimony he said is “crucial” for the entrapment defense he plans to pursue during the March 8 trial in Grand Rapids.
The unorthodox move comes after the prosecution confirmed it would not call on three FBI agents closely linked to the investigation because of personal and professional misconduct allegations.
Also, Stephen Robeson, a key FBI informant in the alleged kidnapping plot, was charged with fraud in an unrelated case in Wisconsin. Prosecutors said that Robeson was a “double agent often working against the interests of the government.”
In the Whitmer case, defense attorneys have also sought to include evidence related to a private investigative firm, Exeintel, owned by FBI Special Agent Jayson Chambers when he served as a handler for informants during the investigation.
Chambers was dropped from the case after reportedly using the kidnapping plot to promote his firm.