Fiancee: Man Accused in Letterman Kidnap Plot Was Joking

ByABC News via logo
March 23, 2005, 7:59 AM

March 23, 2005 — -- The fiancée of the man accused of plotting to kidnap David Letterman's son and nanny said that her future husband never seriously considered the alleged abduction plans and that he would never harm anyone.

"He's a compassionate man," Laurie Johnson, fiancée of Kelly Frank, told ABC News' "Good Morning America" today. "He would never do anything to harm someone."

Frank, 43, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to plotting to kidnap Letterman's 16-month-old son, Harry Joseph, and his nanny and hold them for $5 million ransom. He faces felony charges of solicitation and theft and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction, and the judge ordered him to remain jailed on $650,000 bail until his next scheduled court appearance on April 5.

Frank, a painter who had been hired to work on Letterman's ranch in north-central Montana, was arrested last week after an acquaintance, Bob Gondeiro, told investigators about the alleged plot. Gondeiro told investigators that Frank talked about holding the two for 48 hours so 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.

Jim Hunt, Frank's attorney, and Johnson said that Frank does not deny having the conversation with Gondeiro. However, they said, Frank insists he was joking with Gondeiro. Frank, they said, did not plan to carry out the kidnapping.

"He [Frank] told me that it was not a serious conversation," Johnson said.

Johnson said that she believes Gondeiro approached police and exaggerated the conversation with Frank because of a personal vendetta he is carrying against her fiance.

"Bob had shown up to the job site intoxicated and had requested to have Kelly pay him more funding, more payment, and Kelly was not going to do that," Johnson said. "So they had a disagreement over that."

Letterman thanked FBI officials earlier this week during an episode of "Late Night With David Letterman." He joked that he never gets tired of seeing his home on television while he's actually home watching television.