NASHVILLE – A Nashville, Tennessee man scheduled for trial in U.S. District Court next week pleaded guilty today to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Alexander Friedmann, 52, was charged in May 2020, after an elaborate scheme was uncovered in which Friedman hid a variety of weapons and accessories in the Davidson County Downtown Detention Center (DDC) while it was under construction. Friedmann was found guilty last month of felony vandalism by a state trial jury.
“Whatever sinister plan Friedmann had intended was foiled by the keen attention to detail by DCSO employees,” said U.S. Attorney Wildasin. “I commend these dedicated law enforcement professionals who made the initial discovery and our other local and federal partners who initiated an enormous response to ensure the safety of all when the facility opened. “Through their efforts, the possibility for unspeakable tragedy was avoided.”
According to Court documents, in late December 2019, while preparing for the January 2020 opening of the facility, Davidson County Sherriff’s Office (DCSO) employees discovered two keys missing from the facility’s key control room. A review of video surveillance footage revealed that an individual, dressed in clothing consistent with facility construction workers, had entered the room and taken two keys to secure areas of the facility. On January 4, 2020, the same individual, later identified as Friedmann, was located on the property. Friedmann was wearing a yellow reflective vest, a hard hat, protective gloves, and a dust mask covering his face. Friedmann told DCSO employees he was there working, but it was determined that he was not employed by the construction company or any of its contractors. Friedmann was detained by the DCSO, and subsequently arrested by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. At the time of his arrest, Friedmann had a hand drawn schematic of a portion of the DDC, which he attempted to destroy by chewing it up and swallowing.
A subsequent review of historical surveillance footage determined that, beginning in August 2019, an individual dressed as a construction worker and alleged to be Friedmann, entered the facility on at least 10 occasions, sometimes accompanied by an accomplice who acted as a lookout. The individual was observed on video on several occasions removing material from the expansion joints in block walls and caulk from window areas, after which he placed items inside and covered the joints with another material. On other occasions, he was observed checking different parts of the facility and making notes. Based on the video evidence, a search of the identified areas of the facility was conducted on February 10, 2020, and investigators recovered three handguns, ammunition, handcuff keys, razor blades, and other items.
Subsequent investigation determined that Friedmann owned a condominium in a complex in Nashville and contracted an individual to build a 200 square foot fire-proof storage area in a basement area of one of the buildings. This storage area was constructed out of concrete block. When law enforcement executed a search warrant at this location on March 13, 2020, it appeared that this room was used as a practice facility. Investigators noticed several inconsistencies in the mortar joints of the block walls, similar to those discovered earlier at the DDC. It was also determined that Friedmann had recently moved several locked storage crates from the room to a friend’s house on Whites Creek Pike in Joelton, Tennessee.
On March 20, 2020, a search warrant was executed at the Joelton location, and investigators recovered several crates, which contained 21 firearms, including assault rifles, handguns, shotguns and a 37mm launcher.
Friedmann has been convicted of prior felonies, including armed robbery; assault with intent to commit first degree murder; and attempted aggravated robbery. Sentencing is scheduled for January 4, 2023.
This case was investigated by the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & explosives; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob McGuire is prosecuting the case.