Left-wing prison reform advocate Alex Friedmann was convicted on felony vandalism charges Thursday stemming from an incident where he smuggled weapons into a Tennessee jail that was under construction.
The 53-year-old, a former criminal justice reform consultant on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, did not deny that he had planted weapons in the Nashville’s Downtown Detention Center.
“Friedmann was on trial accused of breaking into the construction site for the new Nashville jail, dressed as a construction worker,” WKRN reported.
“Investigators testified Wednesday that Friedmann dressed as a construction worker and got inside the key control room. He propped open the door with a broom and for several minutes, was alone in the room,” the outlet added.
In fact, his actions were even caught on video.
“Surveillance video echoed these statements and showed him examining keys with security hubs on them. He later takes the keys and puts them in his right pocket, as seen on the video. Shortly after, he is seen exiting the building,” WKRN said.
“More surveillance video showed Friedmann concealing tools, drilling into the walls and hiding weapons.”
Friedmann, who was arrested in January 2020, place guns, handcuff keys, and hacksaw blades inside the prison, authorities said.
“We don’t know: Who were those bullets intended for? Who was going to be stuck with that knife?” Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter said Thursday, The Associated Press reported. “Who was going to try to get something from the other side of the visitation booth, and what were they going to do with it? And why?”
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall called Friedmann’s actions “evil.”
“We were two weeks away from having massive loss of life. There’s no doubt about it in my mind,” he said, according to The Tennessean. “To have somebody like this go in and manipulate the system and compromise everybody’s personal safety is totally unacceptable, and I’m ready for justice to be served.”
Hunter also said during the trial that Friedmann “broke the integrity” of the jail.
“He broke the entire jail. Yes, he broke walls. Yes, he broke mirrors. Yes, broke all of those things. But he also broke the entire integrity of the jail,” Hunter said, WSMV reported.
Friedmann previously advocate for eliminating private prisons, according to Fox News, and advised Sanders to that effect during the senator’s 2016 presidential campaign.