Man who tried to hide guns in jail sentenced

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There is supposed to be nowhere on Earth more secure than a jail except a higher-security prison. With all the controls in place, keeping guns out of there should be easy.


And, for the most part, it is. It’s one of the few gun-free zones that you can be confident is actually gun free.

Yet a man who tried to change that in one jail is now getting an extended stay in a similar facility himself.

A criminal justice advocate who admitted to hiding guns and other weapons in the walls of a Tennessee jail while it was under construction in 2019 will serve 40 years in prison, a judge ruled.

Alex Friedmann, 53, appeared in a Nashville court Thursday morning for sentencing about three months after he was found guilty of vandalism, a Class A felony.

Friedmann, of Nashville, was arrested in early 2020 after he was caught on video surveillance impersonating a construction contractor, stealing two keys and hiding three firearms and numerous saw and razor blades in Music City’s Downtown Detention Center.

Davidson County Sheriff’s officials spent thousands of hours reviewing video footage tracking Friedmann’s whereabouts throughout the facility leading to the discovery of over a dozen “tool packs” and the firearms hidden within the walls. Overtime pay for that work, and the cost to rekey the facility’s 1,800 locks, tipped the $250,000 threshold for a felony vandalism charge, prosecutors argued during Friedmann’s trial in July.


Friedmann tried to claim he’d been raped during his own jail stay and that it somehow excused his actions.

It didn’t.

He tried to offer an apology to the court, though. Well, in court, at least.

Friedmann apologized for his actions while in court Thursday.

“I deeply regret I failed, and betrayed, the trust of the people who believed in me,” he said. “I apologize to the advocated and the prison reform community and for any set backs my actions have caused.”

Shortly after the trial, Friedmann pleaded guilty to a federal crime of gun possession. He is scheduled to be sentenced in that case in January.

Yeah, that gun charge? Friedman is a convicted felon. It’s unlawful for him to have guns at all.

Based on what we’ve seen from Friedmann, it seems his problem with the criminal justice system is that it made him actually pay his debt to society, a debt he apparently preferred not to pay. At least he’s consistent, though, because he doesn’t seem to think anyone else should have to pay either.

That’s likely the real reason he placed guns and those “tool kits” in the jail.


Yet can you imagine what would have happened had there not been video surveillance up yet? He might well have gotten away with it and some bad guy been able to get a gun and commit horrible atrocities because of it.

That’s nightmare fuel right there.

If there’s good news here, it’s not just that Friedmann was caught but that this situation isn’t likely to be in a position to be repeated on any kind of scale. I just don’t think the odds of someone like Friedmann existing in the same time and place a jail is being built as being all that high.

Let’s just hope I’m right on that, though.

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