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Letterman Kidnap Plot


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Man in Letterman Kidnap Plot Arrested in Montana

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Authorities have arrested a man on allegations he was plotting to kidnap David Letterman's young son and nanny from the talk-show host's Montana home.

Sally Hilander, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Corrections, identified the suspect who was under state supervision for a previous crime as Kelly A. Frank. The plot was uncovered when someone whom Frank had approached about the plan informed local police, Hilander said. Frank was in custody on a felony charge of solicitation.

Steven Rubenstein, a spokesman for Letterman's production company World Wide Pants, said he could not immediately comment or say whether Letterman or his family was in Montana at the time of Frank's arrest.

Mike Ferriter of the state Department of Corrections said Frank, 43, was arrested Sunday and arraigned Thursday. He had been working as a painter at Letterman's ranch west of Choteau in northcentral Montana, Ferriter said.

"An individual was approached by Mr. Frank, an acquaintance of some kind, about his thought on the kidnapping, and (Frank) shared his idea with this individual," Ferriter said. "I'm not sure if he asked him to assist or be a part of it. "

Letterman's girlfriend, Regina Lasko, gave birth to their son on Nov. 3, 2003. Letterman said that the boy, his first child, was named after his late father, Harry Joseph Letterman. The comedian who hosts CBS' "Late Show" bought the 2,700-acre spread in 1999.

Letterman's ranch is along the edge of the rugged Rocky Mountain Front, an area known for its pristine wildlife habitats and home to wolves, eagles and grizzly bears. In September 2003, a black bear broke into Letterman's home twice before being captured and relocated after returning a third time.

For years, Letterman was famously targeted by a stalker, who called herself "Mrs. David Letterman" and broke into his Connecticut house at least seven times. Margaret Ray eventually pleaded guilty to breaking and entering. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she served 10 months in prison and 14 months in a mental institution. In 1998, she committed suicide at age 46 by kneeling in front of a train.

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Letterman Kidnap Plot Foiled

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David Letterman holds a photo of his new son, Harry Joseph Letterman born

in November, 2003.

(CBS/AP) David Letterman and his girlfriend thanked law enforcement officials for uncovering a plot to kidnap their 16-month-old son from their Montana ranch, saying they were "forever grateful." The man charged Thursday with hatching the scheme, Kelly A. Frank, worked as a painter at the talk-show host's 2,700-acre spread near the rugged Rocky Mountain Front. The 43-year-old Frank, according to police, had planned to hold the boy and his nanny for $5 million ransom.

"The thought was to kidnap the nanny and the child so the nanny could take care of the child during this period of the kidnapping," said Mike Ferriter of the Montana Dept of Corrections.

In a statement issued by the publicist for Letterman's production company, World Wide Pants, Letterman and his girlfriend, Regina Lasko, praised the FBI and local authorities. "We will be forever grateful for their tireless efforts and determination to vigorously pursue this situation," the couple said. Steven Rubenstein, a spokesman for World Wide Pants, said he could not comment on whether Letterman's family was in Montana at the time of Frank's arrest. The host of CBS's "Late Show" taped three programs earlier this week, but the network's coverage of the men's college basketball tournament pre-empted his Thursday and Friday shows.

Ferriter said Frank had been working as a painter at Letterman's ranch west of Choteau in north-central Montana and apparently confided in an acquaintance earlier this month of his plan to kidnap Letterman's son and nanny for ransom.

According to the affidavit filed by Teton County Attorney Joe Coble, Frank had told the acquaintance that he knew Letterman and his family would be visiting their Montana home soon, and that Frank had a key to the house, knew where the baby slept and intended to kidnap the nanny "so that she could take care of the child."

The acquaintance contacted authorities Sunday, according to the affidavit. Sheriff George Anderson told the weekly Choteau Acantha newspaper that Frank was arrested the following morning at another area ranch where he was working.

Besides the felony solicitation charge, Frank is charged with felony theft for allegedly overcharging Letterman for painting, and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction for lying to an investigator about the alleged plot. He was convicted back in 1999 for holding his then girlfriend against her will, reports CBS News Correspondent Trish Regan.

Frank is jailed in neighboring Pondera County on $600,000 bail. It was not immediately clear whether Frank had an attorney. The Acantha said he did not have a lawyer present when he appeared in court Thursday.

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Suspect Kelly A. Frank

(Photo: Montana Department of Corrections)

His father, Robert Frank, told the New York Daily News for its Friday editions that he hoped the authorities had made a mistake. "I didn't see this coming," the newspaper quoted Frank, 75, as saying. "I just can't imagine him even thinking like that. I don't think he'd ever seen Letterman in his life."

Letterman bought the ranch in 1999. In 2003, a black bear broke into Letterman's home twice, then was captured and relocated after returning a third time.

On Nov. 3, 2003, Lasko gave birth to the couple's son. The boy, Letterman's first child, was named after the comedian's late father, Harry Joseph Letterman.

For years, Letterman was targeted by a stalker who called herself "Mrs. David Letterman" and broke into his Connecticut house at least seven times. Margaret Ray eventually pleaded guilty to breaking and entering. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she served 10 months in prison and 14 months in a mental institution. In 1998, she committed suicide at age 46 by kneeling in front of a train.

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This is every parents nightmare... and the visibility of a celebrity probably increases that worry two-fold. This story saddens me but, then I'm happy that they caught this guy and I hope he goes away for a looooong time.

(Thanks salter for posting about this... I hadn't heard about it until I read this thread.... It's like have our very own CNN reports.. hee hee)

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Fiancee: Letterman Suspect Falsely Accused

The fiancee of a Montana man charged with plotting to kidnap David Letterman's son said her husband-to-be is being falsely accused by a childhood friend he had a falling out with. Kelly A. Frank was arrested Monday after the estranged friend told authorities that Frank had confided a plan to kidnap 16-month-old Harry Joseph Letterman and his nanny for $5 million in ransom. Frank, 43, and the informant not only had been friends since they were 10 but also had worked together at the talk-show host's ranch, west of Choteau, Mont., said the fiancee, Laurie Johnson.

In interviews published Saturday, Johnson told the New York Daily News and New York Post that the estranged friend has a "personal vendetta" against Frank because of a fight they had at work, and has been trying to incriminate him ever since. Johnson said the informant twisted an offhand remark Frank had made about Letterman increasing security at the ranch into a threat against the child. "He has always had great respect for Letterman," Johnson, 40, told the Daily News. "He felt privileged to be able to go up there and work for him."

Frank is charged with felony solicitation, felony theft for allegedly overcharging Letterman for painting work and misdemeanor obstruction for allegedly lying to an FBI agent who first questioned him about the plot. He is being held on $600,000 bail and is scheduled to make his next court appearance Tuesday. Authorities in Teton County, Mont., said it was not clear whether Frank had an attorney yet. He had not been assigned a public defender as of Friday afternoon.

Frank previously pleaded guilty to stalking and intimidating a woman who alleges he also kidnapped and raped her. He is on probation in the stalking case, with a 10-year suspended prison sentence, but Lewis and Clark County petitioned a judge Thursday to revoke his probation after learning of the alleged plot targeting the talk-show host's only child.

The woman Frank admitted stalking obtained protective orders against him, but he was charged at least twice with violating them, according to court records. Court documents were not clear about the relationship. Frank has been divorced more than once. The woman told Helena, Mont., police that beginning in the spring of 1997, Frank stalked and harassed her for months. She said that one occasion he raped her, and in another, he kidnapped and drove her from Helena to Seeley Lake, more than 100 miles away.

Frank received a six-month county jail sentence for stalking and a suspended, 10-year prison sentence for intimidation.

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Guest ranster627

What a twisted world ... I hate to hear about any danger to children. Although this was a plot by someone close to Letterman, I question that it was reported at all giving some other crackpot the idea!

I have always also had huge concerns by Letterman's mentioning his kid all the time on his show as I think it brings unwanted attention and possible danger to an innocent!

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Letterman Thankful Alleged Plot Unraveled

NEW YORK - On his show Monday, David Letterman thanked the Montana authorities who helped unravel an alleged plot to kidnap his young son and nanny and hold them for $5 million ransom.

A painter who worked at the talk show host's ranch near Choteau was arrested last week and charged with solicitation. Authorities say Kelly A. Frank was planning the kidnap for when Letterman and his family next visited the ranch.

"Last week, my family and I were involved in a little legal activity, and fortunately everything turned out fine, but I want to just take a second here to thank some people," Letterman said on Monday's show, his first one since the arrest.

He thanked two FBI agents, Teton County Sheriff George Anderson, county attorney Joe Coble "and the great people of Choteau, Montana. "They have always made me and my family feel entirely welcome as though it were our home and that's how we think of it," he said.

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Man Pleads Not Guilty in Letterman Case

The man accused of plotting to kidnap US chat show host David Letterman's 16-month-old son Harry and his nanny plead not guilty to the charges yesterday morning.

Kelly Frank, 43, faces felony charges of solicitation and theft and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction. The judge ordered him to remain jailed on bail pending his next court appearance on April 5. Frank, a painter who had been hired to do work on Letterman's ranch in north-central Montana, was arrested last week after an acquaintance told investigators he had planned to kidnap the comedian's son and the child's nanny. The acquaintance said Frank talked about holding the two for 48 hours in the belief that he could extort $5 million from Letterman.

According to court records, Frank said he had a key to Letterman's house and even knew where the child slept. Frank's attorney, Jim Hunt, referred to the exchange as a "lighthearted conversation", before adding, "(Frank) has agreed there were discussions about it, but with no purpose of carrying it out."

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  • 3 months later...
Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: Entertainment News

CASE CLOSED: The dude accused of plotting to abduct David Letterman's young son reached a plea agreement with prosecutors Monday. Under the deal, Kelly Frank pleaded guilty to lesser charges of felony theft and misdemeanor obstruction. He'll likely serve at least 10 years in the pokey.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: Entertainment News

TOP 10: Kelly Frank, who in March was arrested for plotting to kidnap David Letterman's then 16-month-old son, Harry, and worked out a plea deal where he copped to felony theft and misdemeanor obstruction charges instead

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