Michigan MP Neil Friske arrested, faces sexual harassment and weapons charges
Michigan MP Neil Friske arrested, faces sexual harassment and weapons charges

A conservative Michigan state lawmaker is under investigation for sexual assault after he was arrested in Lansing shortly before 3 a.m. on Thursday.

On Friday, Lansing police filed sexual assault, assault and weapons charges against Representative Neil Friske. The 62-year-old Republican represents parts of Northern Michigan and is seeking re-election this year.

Friske did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Friske had not been formally charged as of Friday afternoon. According to the office of Ingham County Prosecutor John J. Dewane (D), the investigation is ongoing into the overnight incident, which began when police responded to reports of a man with a gun and possible gunshots.

“During the course of the initial investigation, law enforcement officers learned of a possible sexual assault of an adult female and arrested a 62-year-old man, Kornelius Friske,” Dewane’s office said, using the deputy’s full first name.

Police arrested Friske and took him into custody around 2:45 a.m. Thursday. According to property records, the block where police say Friske was arrested was where he purchased a condo in January.

The lawmaker was released on Friday.

A few hours after Friske’s arrest early Thursday morning, his campaign team defended him in a statement, writing: “As many of us know, Representative Friske is a consistent exerciser of his Second Amendment rights.”

In its statement, Friske’s campaign described the arrest as suspicious because mail-in ballots for Michigan’s primary election were due to be released on August 6. The campaign also accused Friske’s “opponent” of having “ties to the deep state,” but did not specify whether this meant his Republican challenger in the primary or the Democrat seeking to represent Michigan’s 107th district.

Parker Fairbairn, Friske’s Republican challenger in the primary, said in a statement Friday that Friske “deserves the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” but called the congressman’s voting record “catastrophic and immoral.”

“Neil deserves his time in court and the people of the 107th deserve better than Neil,” Fairbairn said.

A member of the conservative Michigan House Freedom Caucus, Friske supports hard-line immigration policies and has introduced legislation to restrict access to abortion, including an unsuccessful bill that would have banned the use of prescription pills in medication-induced abortions.

Friske’s critics in the state’s Democratic-led legislature demanded that the Republican lawmaker be held accountable. Democratic lawmaker Phil Skaggs said on X that if the allegations of sexual assault were true, Friske should “immediately resign from the Michigan House of Representatives.”

By Isla