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Criminal justice advocate accused of planting guns in new Nashville detention center

Nashville police said they've broken up a plot for a jail break, and the alleged ringleader is a well-known advocate for prison reform. Authorities said Alex Friedmann's scheme involved him dressing as a construction worker and stealing keys to plant loaded guns and ammunition at an under-construction downtown Nashville detention center.

"It was discovered that Mr. Friedmann, over many months, had developed and implemented an extremely deliberate and, in my opinion, evil plan," said Sheriff Daron Hall. "What disturbed me most is not that this was about an escape, it was also about loss of life."

Friedmann is a self-described criminal justice advocate. An ex-convict himself, he became a high-profile voice against private prisons. He has been featured in multiple news reports and documentaries, and even testified on Capitol Hill. His attorney said Friedmann is "presumed innocent" but did not address the latest allegations.

He was first detained in January and re-arrested Tuesday night. Police are looking for three other men they believe may have helped him.

"I'm not confident we've found everything," Hall said. "We're not going to work here until we're comfortable."

That also means changing nearly 2,000 locks before the detention center can open. 

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