A man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to plotting to kidnap David Letterman’s 16-month-old son and nanny and hold them for $5 million ransom.
Kelly Frank, 43, faces felony charges of solicitation and theft and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction. The judge ordered him to remain jailed on $650,000 bail pending his next court appearance on April 5.
Frank, a painter who had been hired do to work on Letterman’s ranch in north-central Montana, was arrested last week after an acquaintance told investigators he had planned to kidnap the talk show host’s son, Harry Joseph, 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, said his client “has agreed there were discussions about it, but with no purpose of carrying it out.” He called it a “lighthearted conversation.”
Frank’s fiancee, Laurie Johnson, has said that Frank was falsely accused by a childhood friend he had a falling out with.
She said the estranged friend, who also worked at Letterman’s ranch, has a “personal vendetta” against Frank because of a fight they had at work, and has been trying to incriminate him ever since.