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Michigan state Rep. Neil Friske after arrest says he ‘was being framed’

Rep. Neil Friske, R-Charlevoix, on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives on Oct. 10, 2023 at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing. (David Guralnick/The Detroit News/TNS)

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan state Rep. Neil Friske, who was arrested last week and remains under investigation, said on a Monday radio show that he had done nothing wrong and will not step down from his seat in the Michigan House.

Friske, a Republican from Charlevoix, was arrested near a home he owns in Lansing early Thursday morning after police responded to “a report of a male with a gun, as well as possible shots that were fired,” according to the Lansing Police Department.

He was released from jail Friday as Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane’s office asked Lansing police to further investigate claims of sexual assault, assault and a weapons offense.

On Monday morning, as the investigation continues, Friske appeared on the conservative northern Michigan radio show “Your Defending Fathers.”

“I can’t really comment on the specifics of things,” Friske said during the interview. “But … just the way events unfolded it was very clear to me that something wasn’t right and I was being framed and trying to be framed and being set up.

“And that’s how these people work, you know? And it’s just so frustrating. It’s just amazing to me how desperate people are that they go to these kinds of lengths to try to destroy someone.”

It wasn’t clear which individuals Friske was accusing of trying to frame him or what evidence he had, if any, to support the claims. Friske also provided little information during the interview about the events that led to police arresting him after being dispatched at about 2:45 a.m. Thursday.

In a statement posted to social media Monday, Friske thanked his supporters and said he was detained “due to false accusations,” but an initial investigation showed no evidence to support the claims.

“I am confident that this investigation will totally exonerate me,” he said.

On the Monday radio show, Friske said he had a “long road ahead” but was “very optimistic.”

Randy Bishop, the host of “Your Defending Fathers,” said he had received 250 to 400 text messages in support of Friske, who’s facing a primary challenge in August.

“People see right through this,” Friske said. “It’s a century- old game that’s not even new.”

The first-term lawmaker also said he was planning to travel to Lansing Monday night for the week’s session days scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

“My campaign is full steam ahead. I am not suspending my campaign,” Friske said Monday. “I know there have been naysayers out there telling me I should step down, I should suspend (my campaign). I am not doing that. That is not what I feel like God wants me to do. That’s not the message I am getting from my supporters.

“And I’ve not done anything wrong, so why on earth would I do that?”

On Thursday, State Rep. Phil Skaggs, D-East Grand Rapids, called for Friske to resign depending on what happened.

“I call on Rep. Friske to look to his conscience and do the right thing,” Skaggs wrote Thursday on X, formerly Twitter. “If these allegations are true, Friske should resign from the Michigan House immediately.”

Dewane, the Ingham County prosecutor, last week asked Lansing police to investigate the allegations against Friske further before he would make a decision on authorizing charges. On Monday, Dewane said he did not have a timeline for the probe’s completion.

A Lansing police spokeswoman Monday said there were no new updates in the department’s investigation.

Friske, the owner of Friske & Sons Property Management, is 62 years old. He was first elected to the Michigan House in November 2022. His district features Charlevoix and Emmet counties and portions of Cheboygan, Chippewa and Mackinac counties.


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