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A Michigan state representative may face felony-level sexual assault and weapons charges after allegedly sexually assaulting an exotic dancer and then chasing her while brandishing a gun. 

Republican state Rep. Neil Friske, 62, was released from the Lansing police lockup late Friday morning, The Detroit Free Press reported. 

Friske allegedly “chased an adult dancer after a disagreement,” MIRS News reported, after police responded to reports of possible shots fired around 2:45 a.m. on Thursday. 

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Michigan State Representative Neil Friske

Michigan state Rep. Neil Friske was arrested after allegedly chasing an exotic dancer with a firearm early Thursday morning. Police are investigating a potential sexual assault, but no charges have been filed. (© Annie Doyle/Charlevoix Courier/USA Today Network)

He was arrested on Windbreak Lane near a condo he owns in Lansing. The dancer reportedly works or worked at the nearby Deja Vu Showgirls strip club, according to the outlet, which is the closest such club.

“We’re just saying no comment at this time,” the establishment told The New York Post.

On the scene, law enforcement learned of a “possible sexual assault of an adult female,” the office of Ingham County prosecutor John Dewane told the Free Press. 

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Deja Vu Showgirls Lansing strip club

The alleged female victim worked at Deja Vu Showgirls in Lansing, MIRS News reported. (Google Maps)

Friske declined to comment as he left the Lansing police station on Friday, but his attorney Edwar Zeineh told the Free Press that “this is a case that is getting our full attention to show actual innocence.”

Records obtained Friday by the Free Press through the Michigan State Police criminal background service show that the Lansing department requested felony charges of sexual assault, assault and a weapons-related offense against the lawmaker. 

But Friske has not yet been charged or arraigned, and it is unclear whether those are the charges he will face. 

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Dewane’s office wrote in a Friday press release that it has requested the department continue its investigation, and that prosecutors are coordinating with law enforcement on the matter. 

Zeineh said his office will also be conducting a “very thorough investigation” and will provide its findings to the Ingham prosecutors so that officials can “make a very informed decision.”

State Representative Neil Friske at the Michigan Legislature

Rep. Neil Friske, left, on the House floor, March 8, 2023. (© Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal/USA Today Network)

In a statement released on Facebook, Friske’s campaign wrote that the arrest was “highly suspect” considering that it took place “right before absentee ballots are released” and “a day after an unknown phone number conducted polling on the 107 race between Rep. Friske and our opponent with deep-state ties.”

“Rep. Friske is always exercising his 2nd Amendment right,” the campaign wrote. “We do not have any details beside what the media sourced, oddly before anyone of us knew anything.”

Friske faces a primary election challenge against Parker Fairbairn of Harbor Springs on Aug. 6, The Detroit News reported. The winner of the primary will be likely to win the general election in the Republican stronghold, which includes Charlevoix and Emmet counties and parts of Mackinac and Chippewa counties. 

In a statement, Fairbairn said that despite his “abysmal and immoral voting record,” Friske is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

“He voted against protecting spouses from marital rape, voted against making child marriage illegal, voted against tax cuts for veterans — and just this past week, he voted against making it illegal to create AI ‘deep fake’ pornography using the likeness of our daughters and wives,” Fairbairn wrote in his statement. “Neil deserves his time in court, and the people of the 107th District deserve better than Neil.”

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Friske, who is seeking his second term in the Michigan House next fall, is considered one of the more conservative members of the Legislature and is part of the House’s Freedom Caucus, which describes itself as “focused on traditional conservative values and individual liberty.”

After his release from lockup, his campaign wrote in a second Facebook post that they “are confident that he and his legal team will be able to show his innocence against any trumped up charges.”

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