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Friske won’t resign over arrest, says he was ‘set up’ and denies wrongdoing

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Note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Rep. Friske.

LANSING -- State Rep. Neil Friske has rejected calls for him to resign and says he will continue to campaign for re-election in his first public comments since his arrest last week.

“My campaign is full steam ahead. I am not suspending my campaign,” Friske said Monday morning. “I know there’s 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’m getting from my supporters. And I’ve not done anything wrong, so why on earth would I do that?”


Police said last week that Friske, a Charlevoix Republican, had been arrested following reports early Thursday morning of a man with a gun and possible shots fired. Friske was arrested around 3 a.m. Thursday in a suburb south of Lansing.

Friday, police requested that Friske be charged with three felonies stemming from his arrest, including felony sexual assault, felony assault and an unspecified felony weapon charge.

The Ingham County prosecutor prosecutor said Friday that authorities learned of a “possible sexual assault of an adult female” related to the incident.

Friske spoke with “Trucker” Randy Bishop on his conservative radio show about the arrest and its aftermath. Friske echoed claims his campaign had made last week the that arrest was politically motivated and designed to undermine his credibility.


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

The two didn’t discuss specifics of the case on advice from Friske’s attorneys, but Friske did release a statement on Monday, which you can read below.

Friske said that he’s received support from voters following his arrest and said that the incident may help increase enthusiasm for his campaign.

“Obviously it’s a very unfortunate situation. But I do believe that, you know, it’s going to help motivate people, and I’m excited about the path forward,” he said.


Friske said that he expects to attend session this week, as the House plans on approving the state’s annual budget.

Friske released a statement later in the day saying that he was initially detained “due to false accusations. Following an “initial investigation,” Friske says “no evidence was found to support the claims.”

Friske said he wasn’t able to comment on some details due to the ongoing investigation, and did not address the specific charges requested by the Lansing Police Department, which were made around the time he was released from a Lansing jail Friday afternoon. His arraignment has not yet been publicly scheduled.

Friske also thanked supporters and said he would continue carrying out his work in the Legislature.


“My faith is that the people will see right through this, as they have seen happening to other patriots like me,” he said. “I will not back down against the extreme pressures of political lawfare.”

The Lansing Police Department denied information requests for Friske’s arrest incident report and any available body camera footage Monday, citing an “ongoing law enforcement investigative proceeding.”

Friske’s lawyer spoke briefly with the Detroit Free Press following his release, saying they would allow the legal process to play out and that he maintained Friske’s innocence.

Spokespeople for the House GOP and MIGOP have declined to comment on Friske’s arrest.

Friske was elected to represent the state’s 107th House District in 2022 and is currently running for reelection. His district includes Charlevoix, Petoskey, East Jordan, St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.

He is considered one of the most conservative House members, often voting against legislation with broad bipartisan support.

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