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Prosecutors show new security video in third day of trial for Alex Friedmann

Friedmann in court
Posted at 8:17 AM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 09:47:53-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The trial of Alex Friedmann continued with more witness testimony on Wednesday.

Watch Wednesday's trial proceedings in the video player below:

Trial continues for Alex Friedmann

Security video shown during the third day of the trial showed him wandering around the construction site of the new jail like he owned the place.

Prosecutors continued to play hours of security video for the jury of Friedmann in action — making the case he went to the jail with bad intentions.

He disguised himself as a construction worker and no one gave him a second thought as he came and went as he pleased.

In the video, he’s seen taking keys, blueprints and hiding weapons.

Metro police investigator Lynette Mace testified that she found a gun, cartridge cases, a razor blade and handcuff keys inside a wall of the jail.

Photos of guns, ammunition, tools and other items that prosecutors say Friedmann hid in the walls were shown to the jury.

Friedmann is accused of causing more than $250,000 worth of damages – a Class A felony.

The defense is not disputing any of his actions, saying he is guilty of vandalism. Instead, they argue the cost is nowhere near $250,000.

Friedmann is not expected to testify at his trial.


In-Depth: Alex Friedmann Case

For more than a decade, Alex Friedmann worked to become a leader in advocating for criminal justice issues in Tennessee. He took up the cause after he was sentenced to ten years in prison on an assault charge. Since his 1999 release, he's written legal journals and pushed prison reform policy, including testifying on Capitol Hill and at the Tennessee State Capitol and even speaking with NewsChannel 5 about prison safety concerns.

Who is Alex Friedmann? A look at the advocate accused of planting guns inside the Metro Jail

In January 2020, Friedmann was charged with attempted burglary, evidence tampering and possession of burglary tools. The Davidson County Sheriff's Office said he broke into the new downtown detention center while it was being constructed. The sheriff's office said in December 2019, employees noticed a set of keys with a ring that looked different from the others, then later confirmed two facility keys were missing.

Criminal justice advocate arrested in Nashville

Friedmann allegedly dressed as a construction worker and was seen entering the control room. Police said he then entered the room and placed a key ring in his pocket, left the DDC through the front lobby, returned two hours later, and replaced the keys, again with two missing. When officers arrested Friedman, they found an igloo cooler he was carrying into 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 the security of the new jail.

Sources: Break-in part of plot to discredit new Davidson County Jail

In early February 2020, it was announced all 1,800 locks at the new detention center will have to be replaced Friedmann allegedly broke in. Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall called it the "most significant security breach in Nashville history."

1,800 locks being replaced after break-in at Davidson County Jail

Weeks later, the Davidson County Sheriff's Office announced it had uncovered a "massive escape plan" allegedly created by Friedmann. He was accused of hiding loaded guns, various tools and additional ammunition in the new downtown detention center over a period of months.

Sheriff Daron Hall called the alleged plan extremely deliberate and evil, adding he believed Friedmann put the lives of law enforcement in "imminent danger." Friedmann was arrested on a felony vandalism charge.

Sheriff: Criminal justice advocate planted guns, ammunition in detention center

A spokesperson for Bell and Associates Construction, the construction company behind the new jail, called the breach 'domestic terrorism' and unprecedented.

Alleged jail break plot will change how jails are built moving forward

By April 2020, Sheriff Hall said the new detention center 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 learned Friedmann filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Department of Correction in federal court, claiming to be unfairly locked up with dangerous convicted felons. He is being housed at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison while awaiting trial.

Man accused of planting guns in new Davidson County jail sues state

Sheriff Hall responded to the lawsuit publicly in an interview with NewsChannel 5, calling Friedmann dangerous.

"The evidence of what he's done, the proof of what he's done. As far as I'm concerned he needs to be in the most secure environment there is not just today, but forever," said Hall.

Sheriff says man accused of planting guns in Davidson Co. jail should be housed in maximum security

In December 2021, a judge sided with Friedmann, ordering he no longer be kept in solitary confinement while awaiting trial. The Tennessee Department of Corrections didn't immediately comply so as a result, Friedmann's lawyer argued TDOC should be held in contempt.

After another day in court, TDOC finally agreed to allow Friedmann more time outside his cell and more interaction with others.

Alex Friedmann to no longer stay in solitary confinement while awaiting trial