February 21, 2020

USA: A Criminal Justice Consultant Who Worked On Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Has Been Arrested For Planting Guns And Ammunition In A Tennessee Detention Center To Help Inmates Escape.

News4 WSMV Nashville published Thur Feb 20, 2020: There is growing astonishment from people who knew and worked with Alex Friedmann, the man accused of helping to stage a massive jailbreak. Jeremy Finley has more.

NewsChannel 5 published Weds Feb 19, 2020: Who is Alex Friedmann? A look at the advocate accused of with planting guns inside the Metro Jail. Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said criminal-turned-advocate Alex Friedmann masterminded an "evil" plan to hide guns inside the unfinished Downtown Detention Center.

Tennessean published Weds Feb 19, 2020: Nashville criminal justice advocate Alex Friedmann, 50, hid loaded guns when he sneaked into the incomplete Downtown Detention Center, according to Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall. Entire 10 minute news conference.
News Channel WTVF5, Nashville local
written by Laken Bowles
Wednesday February 19, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A longtime criminal justice advocate is accused of hiding guns in the new detention center as part of what authorities called a massive escape plan.

Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said Alex Friedmann hid loaded guns, various tools and additional ammunition in the new detention center over a period of several months.

Hall called the alleged escape plan extremely deliberate and “evil,” saying Friedmann put the lives of law enforcement in “imminent danger.”

Hall previously called it the "most significant security breach in Nashville history."

According to the sheriff’s office, Friedmann was arrested Tuesday night and charged with Class A Felony vandalism. He’s being held on a $2.5 million bond at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution for safekeeping, which is for inmates who have been court-ordered to Tennessee Department of Correction custody.

Hall said the bond is an indication of the seriousness of his actions, adding it was far beyond vandalism.

"This is not spray painted vandalism," Hall said.

During a press conference, Hall said he was most disturbed by the possible loss of life due to the alleged plan.

"He also put every inmate, every visitor and our entire community in jeopardy," Hall said.

Staff working inside the facility do not carry weapons, Hall added.

Friedmann was first arrested in early January and charged with attempted burglary, evidence tampering and possession of burglary tools. Metro Police say a cooler Friedmann carried into the facility contained bolt cutters, a key chit (used as a security measure to identify keys), and a schmeatic document of the building. He was arrested after a sheriff's lieutenant noticed the keys missing, reviewed security video, and then spotted a man in a yellow construction vest and taking the keys.

Friedmann is alleged to have tried to destroy the document by ripping and chewing it after he was detained.

The stolen keys have since been recovered and all 1,800 locks in the new detention center will be replaced.

Hall said Friedmann was caught just a few weeks after his office took occupancy in the facility. Before November, the facility was in the hands of general services for the government and a general contractor.

The new detention center was set to open in April, but in light of the investigation, Hall says it will be delayed.

"This will forever change how correctional facilities are built," Hall said.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Friedmann received a 10-year sentence for assault with intent to commit murder and armed robbery 1991.

Friedman's attorney, Benjamin K. Raybin, released the following statement:

"I have been representing Alex Friedmann since his arrest for attempted burglary in January. It is important to clarify that the new vandalism charge stems from alleged conduct arising last year, and not any recent actions occurring after his previous arrest. Mr. Friedmann surrendered himself immediately after being advised of the new charge last night. The keys were returned to the Sheriff’s Office several weeks ago through counsel. I am currently unable to comment on any of the factual allegations. Mr. Friedmann is presumed innocent and will respond through the appropriate legal processes.

Metro Nashville police said they're looking to identify three persons-of-interest who may have been involved in the plot.
FOX News
written by Ronn Blitzer
Thursday February 20, 2020

A former consultant for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign was arrested after he allegedly planted loaded weapons and ammunition inside a Tennessee corrections facility that was under construction in an attempt to carry out a future jailbreak, authorities said.

Criminal justice reform advocate Alex Friedmann, who was not an inmate but allegedly was plotting to help prisoners escape when the facility opened, was arrested Tuesday on one count of felony vandalism, but Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said during a press conference Wednesday that the allegations go far beyond that.

The opening of the Nashville detention center, which was slated for April, was indefinitely postponed after his arrest, according to the Tennessean.

“Throughout the last several weeks it was discovered that Mr. Friedmann, over many months, had developed and implemented an extremely deliberate – and in my opinion evil – plan,” Hall said during the press conference, which was broadcast by local NBC affiliate WSMV. “Understand, this plan went far beyond vandalism. Ultimately it included planting various tools, weapons, security equipment throughout this facility. All designed to assist in a massive escape plan.”

Hall went on to describe how the weapons included loaded guns and ammunition.

“What disturbed me most is not that this was about an escape,” he said. “It was also about loss of life.”

Friedmann worked with the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as one of several consultants who educated him on criminal justice issues. It resulted in Sanders introducing a bill aimed at eliminating private prisons. Friedmann told The Atlantic in 2015 that the bill did not go far enough to achieve that goal.

“It appears to be more for political purposes than to actually address the many problems in our criminal justice system,” he told the publication.

Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Sheriff Hall said the arrest came after an investigation stemming from a previous case involving Friedmann, who was arrested in January on charges including attempted burglary for allegedly posing as a construction worker to enter a different detention center multiple times, stealing keys, and diagraming the layout of the center, which was still being built and not in use at the time.

A press release from the sheriff’s office said that corrections officials noticed on Dec. 30 that two keys were missing. They viewed surveillance video and saw someone dressed as a construction worker who matched Friedmann’s description taking a key ring, then coming back and replacing it with two keys missing.

Friedmann, who was associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center and managing editor of its Prison Legal News publication, was released following that arrest after he posted $2,500 bond, and the case is still pending. HRDC director Paul Wright declined to comment on the allegations but told Fox News that Friedmann resigned from the organization following his January arrest.

Friedmann’s attorney Ben Raybin told Fox News that it was “important to clarify that the new vandalism charge stems from alleged conduct arising last year, and not any recent actions occurring after his previous arrest.” He said the keys were returned to the sheriff’s office and that Friedmann has been cooperative.

“Mr. Friedmann surrendered himself immediately after being advised of the new charge,” Raybin said.

Friedmann is currently in custody following his arrest, with bond set at $2.5 million. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 26, with an April 6 date set for the previous case.

The Nevada Independent
written by Megan Messerly
Wednesday February 12, 2020

The politically powerful Culinary Union is punching back at supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who have lashed out at the union after it began distributing a one-pager to members warning that the Democratic presidential hopeful would “end Culinary Healthcare” if elected president.

Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline said in a statement Wednesday that Sanders supporters have “viciously attacked” the union since it began distributing a one-pager to union members that takes specific aim at the Vermont senator over his Medicare-for-all policy. The Culinary Union, which provides insurance to 130,000 of its members and their families through a special kind of union health trust, strongly opposes the creation of a single-payer, government-run health insurance system on the grounds that it would eliminate their health plan.

In distributing the flyer, the union was trying to provide “facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over 8 decades,” Arguello-Kline said. “We have always stood up for what we believe in and will continue to do so.”

She also noted that the union invited Sanders to its headquarters for a town hall and took him on tours of its 60,000-square-foot state of the art Culinary Health Center and the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, a training facility for hospitality workers in North Las Vegas “to show what we have fought for and won.”

“The Culinary Union has faced some of the toughest companies who wanted to break our union, and even the President of the United States Donald Trump – and won,” she said.

Since news of the flyer broke on Tuesday night, the Culinary Union has faced attacks in the form of tweets, phone calls and emails, a union spokeswoman said.

On Twitter, the union has been derided, among other things, as “corrupt,” “incompetent” and “operating in bad faith.” The spokeswoman said the content of the phone calls and emails has largely been the same.

A spokeswoman for the Sanders campaign declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and a member of the AFL-CIO, chimed in on Twitter in support of the union.
The 60,000-member hotel workers’ union, an organizing powerhouse in the state known for turning the tides in close races, has yet to announce whether it will endorse ahead of the Democratic presidential caucus in Nevada on Feb. 22. However, the flyer appears to be part of a coordinated campaign by the union to insert itself into the race — with or without an endorsement.

According to the flyer, Sanders would “end Culinary Healthcare,” “require ‘Medicare For All,’” and “lower drug prices” if elected president. It uses much softer language to describe Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for all plan, which the union says would “replace Culinary Healthcare after 3-year transition or at end of collective bargaining agreements.”

The flyer also praises four other Democratic presidential hopefuls — former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and California billionaire Tom Steyer — for backing plans that would create a government-run public health care option that the union says would “protect Culinary Health care.”

The Culinary Union has repeatedly stressed that it believes that health care is a right, just not at the expense of the union’s gold-standard health plan, considered some of the best insurance in the state.

“Our union believes that everyone has the right to good healthcare and that healthcare should be a right, not a privilege,” Arguello-Kline said. “We have already enacted a vision for what working people need — and it exists now. Workers should have the right to choose to keep the healthcare Culinary Union members have built, sacrificed for, and went on strike for 6 years, 4 months, and 10 days to protect.”

The Nevada Independent is a 501(c)3 nonprofit news organization. We are committed to transparency and disclose all our donors. The following people or entities mentioned in this article are financial supporters of our work:
Culinary Workers Union - $7,325

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