Daily Briefs

October trial postponed for 5 men in Michigan governor plot

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday said he would postpone the Oct. 12 trial of five men accused of planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A new date wasn’t immediately set, but U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker suggested the trial might get pushed to February or March. Defense lawyers said they needed more time to pore over evidence shared by federal prosecutors, especially the undercover work of FBI agents and informants.

“I trust the judgment of these five lawyers,” Jonker said.

The delay means the trial, and subsequent sentencing hearings if there are convictions, would occur while Whitmer, a Democrat, is seeking reelection in 2022.

The five men have been in custody for nearly a year.

The government said the men were upset over coronavirus restrictions when they conspired to kidnap Whitmer, even scouting her second home in northern Michigan. They’ve pleaded not guilty and claim to be victims of entrapment.

A sixth man, Ty Garbin, pleaded guilty and was recently sentenced to slightly more than six years in prison. He’s expected to be a major witness for the government at trial.


Law firm donates backpacks filled with school supplies to kids

Proper school supplies can help ensure a successful academic year for students. But all too many families cannot afford all of the supplies they need to help their children succeed. For this reason, Butzel law firm is continuing a tradition it started four years ago to give away new backpacks and supplies to students at a school in Detroit.

Butzel recently provided nearly 400 backpacks filled with school supplies to K-8 students at MacDowell Preparatory Academy on Outer Drive in Detroit. The academy’s mission is to provide an excellent education for its scholars, prepare them for college, and build upon a tradition of excellence. Butzel hopes to help make that mission a little more attainable. 

“Many students across the state come from homes that are considered below the poverty level. For many of these families, school supplies are not at the top of the list when they are trying to pay the bills and keep the lights on, to say nothing of trying to put food on the table,” said Paul Mersino, attorney, shareholder, and Trustee of the Butzel Charitable Trust. “But studies indicate that students who have the proper supplies they need for school obtain better grades and higher test scores.

“Studies also indicate that when students have the supplies they need, their attendance improves, which also leads to better performance,” he added. “Just as important, by providing students with materials they need for school, we can help parents and families make ends meet and ensure they do not have to choose between purchasing school supplies and purchasing food, clothing, and other essential needs.”

This is the fourth year that Butzel partnered with the Kids in Need Foundation in order to bring these backpacks to these deserving school children. Butzel hopes to continue doing so every school year.

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