In Depth: The Alex Friedmann Case
For more than a decade, Alex Friedmann has worked to become a leader in advocacy on criminal justice issues in Tennessee. He took up the cause after being sentenced to ten years in prison for assault. Since his release in 1999, he has written legal reviews and pushed prison reform policy, including testifying on Capitol Hill and the Tennessee State Capitol and even speaking with NewsChannel 5 about prison security issues.
Who is Alex Friedman? A look at the lawyer accused of planting guns inside the subway jail
In January 2020, Friedmann was charged with attempted burglary, tampering with evidence and possession of burglary tools. The Davidson County Sheriff‘s Office said he broke into the new downtown detention center during its construction. The sheriff’s office said in December 2019 that employees noticed a set of keys with a ring that looked different from the others, then later confirmed that two keys to the facility were missing.
Criminal justice advocate arrested in Nashville
Friedmann reportedly dressed as a construction worker and was seen entering the control room. Police said he then entered the room and placed a bunch of keys in his pocket, left the DDC through the lobby, returned two hours later and replaced the keys, again with two missing. When officers arrested Friedman, they discovered that an igloo cooler he was carrying around the facility contained bolt cutters and a document identified as schematics of the detention center.
Sources told NewsChannel 5 the break-in was part of a plot to compromise security at the new prison.
Sources: Break-in as part of a plot to discredit the new Davidson County Jail
Beginning of February 2020, it has been announced that the 1,800 people in the new detention center will have to be replaced. Friedmann would have burst in. Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall called it “the largest security breach in Nashville history.”
1,800 locks replaced after Davidson County Jail break-in
weeks later, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office announced that it had uncovered a “massive escape plan” allegedly created by Friedmann. He was accused of hiding loaded weapons, various tools and additional ammunition in the new downtown detention center for several months.
Sheriff Daron Hall called the alleged plan extremely deliberate and diabolical, adding that he believed Friedmann was putting the lives of law enforcement in “imminent danger”. Friedmann was arrested for vandalism.
Sheriff: A criminal justice lawyer deposited firearms and ammunition in a detention center
A spokesperson for Bell and Associates Construction, the construction company behind the new prison, called the offense “domestic terrorism” and unprecedented.
The alleged prison escape plot will change the way prisons are built in the future
By April 2020, Sheriff Hall said the new detention facility was deemed “safe and secure”. The case delayed the opening of the new facility.
Davidson County Sheriff says detention center ‘safe and secure’ after break-in
In September 2021, NewsChannel 5 has learned that Friedmann filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Department of Corrections in federal court, claiming he was unfairly locked up with dangerous convicted felons. He is being held at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison pending trial.
Man accused of laying guns in new Davidson County Jail sues state
Sheriff Hall publicly responded to the lawsuit in an interview with NewsChannel 5, calling Friedmann dangerous.
“Proof of what he did, proof of what he did. As far as I’m concerned, he needs to be in the safest environment, not just today, but forever.” , Hall said.
Sheriff says man accused of planting guns in Davidson Co. jail should be placed in maximum-security facility
In December 2021, a judge sided with Friedmann, ordering that he no longer be kept in solitary confinement pending trial. The Tennessee Department of Corrections did not immediately comply, therefore Friedmann’s attorney argued that TDOC should be held in contempt.
After another day in court, TDOC finally agreed to allow Friedmann more time outside of his cell and more interaction with others.
Alex Friedmann will no longer remain in solitary confinement awaiting trial