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Police request sexual assault and weapons charges for Republican lawmaker arrested Thursday

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Police request sexual assault and weapons charges for Republican lawmaker arrested Thursday

Jun 21, 2024 | 2:36 pm ET
By Kyle Davidson
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Police request sexual assault and weapons charges for Republican lawmaker arrested Thursday
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Rep. Neil Friske | House GOP photo

State Rep. Neil Friske (R-Charlevoix) could face three felony charges, following his arrest early Thursday morning. 

According to a records obtained through the Michigan State Police Internet Criminal History Access tool, Lansing Police have requested charges of felony sexual assault, assault and a weapons-related offense against Friske. 

An email from the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office on Friday confirmed no charges have been filed against Friske, nor was he scheduled for arraignment. 

Police request sexual assault and weapons charges for Republican lawmaker arrested Thursday
Rep. Neil Friske (R-Charlevoix). | Kyle Davidson

In a statement, Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane said the Lansing Police Department responded to an incident on Thursday for a report of a male with a gun, as well as possible shots that were fired. During the course of the initial investigation, law enforcement officers learned of a possible sexual assault of an adult female, and they arrested a 62-year old male, Kornelius Friske, Dewane said, which is the lawmaker’s legal name. 

“The Lansing Police Department submitted a warrant request to our office on June 21, 2024, after a review of the initial investigation, I have asked the Lansing Police Department to continue their investigation. Our office will continue to work in coordination with law enforcement on this matter,” Dewane said.

Lansing Police Department Public Information Director Jordan Gulkis confirmed Friday Friske had been released from jail.

In a video posted to X by Detroit Free Press Reporter Paul Egan, Friske’s attorney, Edwar Zeineh, said they would be conducting a thorough investigation and turning over the findings to the Ingham County prosecutor so they “can make a very informed decision not to prosecute Representative Friske.”

Following Friske’s arrest, his reelection campaign made a post on Facebook Thursday,  calling the timing of his arrest “highly suspect,” and drawing a connection that Friske had been arrested just before absentee ballots are released for the upcoming Aug. 6 primary election. 

“This morning, it was brought to our attention that Representative Friske was arrested and being held. As many of us know, Rep Friske is always exercising his 2nd Amendment right. We do not have any details, besides what the media sourced, oddly before anyone of us knew anything. .… We ask everyone for prayers and to stay tuned for updates directly from this campaign or Representative Friske himself,” the post reads. 

Friske, who represents Michigan’s 107th House District, is being challenged by Republican Parker Fairbairn of Harbor Springs, while Jodi Decker of Sault Ste. Marie is unopposed in the Democratic primary. 

Among the most conservative lawmakers in the state, Friske is a member of Michigan’s far-right Freedom Caucus, which has attempted to censure Michigan House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) claiming the state’s first Black House speaker “championed unambiguous discrimination” for allowing the House to pass a state budget that included grants for minority-owned businesses.

Friske has also introduced efforts to repeal protections for reproductive rights approved by voters, and requiring libraries to create a restricted area for “obscene or sexually explicit matter that is harmful to minors” that is only accessible to individuals 18 or older. 

Rep. Phil Skaggs (D-East Grand Rapids) called for Friske to resign in a post to X on Thursday

“While we do not yet have all the details of the incident, Neil Friske himself knows exactly what happened. I call on Rep. Friske to look to his conscience and do the right thing. If these allegations are true, Friske should resign from the Michigan House immediately,” Skaggs said. 

Friske Warrant Request