The federal cases against Ty Garbin, Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, Daniel Harris, and Kaleb Franks will go to a grand jury.
All five of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which is punishable by up to life in prison.
Federal investigators say the group was involved in a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Attorneys for the suspects argued the government did not establish conspiracy to commit kidnapping by any standard of proof, saying at most, the defendants were engaging in nothing more than loose talk.
The prosecution countered, telling the court the defendants’ actions of trying to hide conversations on encrypted sites – along with conducting surveillance on Whitmer’s vacation home twice – amounted to more than loose talk.
The judge agreed with the prosecution, finding the defendants shared a unity of purpose to kidnap Whitmer. The judge ruled there is probably cause to bind them over to the grand jury.
Bond hearings were supposed to be held for both Fox and Garbin, but Fox – who investigators say is the leader of the group – waived his hearing, deciding to remain in custody for now.
Garbin’s bond hearing did take place. His attorney asked the court for a pre-trial release of his client saying Garbin had no criminal history and is an airline mechanic making $28 an hour. That is why Garbin’s attorney recommended home detention with electronic monitoring at Garbin’s parents’ house with no firearms.
The government argued for no bond, saying Garbin could just leave his parents’ home and then the race would be on.
The judge sided with the prosecution, saying Garbin would be an ongoing danger to society if he was released.
The judge denied bond to Casserta, Harris, and Franks on Tuesday.
All of the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.