Judge Finds 'Strong' Evidence In Alleged Plot To Bomb AK Steel - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Judge Finds 'Strong' Evidence In Alleged Plot To Bomb AK Steel

By THOMAS J. SHEERAN, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - A federal magistrate found "strong" evidence Thursday of a plot to bomb the locked-out AK Steel Corp. mill in Mansfield and ordered the suspect jailed without bond.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Vecchiarelli said during a preliminary hearing that Fred Frigo of Mansfield might need mental health counseling.

She made the comment after reviewing a pretrial evaluation, but offered no specifics during a two-hour hearing.

The government accused Frigo, a member of the United Auto Workers union and General Motors Corp. employee, of hatching the plot in support of Steelworkers union members who have been locked out of the AK Steel plant since Sept. 1, 1999.

AK Steel has continued operating the plant with management and about 250 replacement workers.

Frigo allegedly wanted to build a grenade launcher and bomb the plant from the back of a pickup truck.

The only witness at the preliminary hearing was Brian Kolar, a special agent of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He also signed the affidavit that outlined the government's original case that said Frigo admitted the plan to an informant from the bureau.

Kolar testified that Frigo was videotaped testing the launch of a grenade that traveled about 100 yards.

A search of Frigo's home turned up five weapons, gunpowder, more than $13,000 in counterfeit money and books on explosives, exotic weapons and covert operations, Kolar said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Binder said Frigo was trying to recruit the informant to help in the alleged plot and put a pipe bomb in the GM co-worker's lunch box as "gentle persuasion" to get assistance.

Frigo's attorney, Sonja Rowan, asked for his release pending trial and said he wasn't a risk to flee or to harm anyone. She said Frigo would accept mental health counseling as a requirement for his release, but said there was no evidence of mental incompetence.

AK Steel said violence and sabotage at the Mansfield plant figured in its decision not to continue using union labor. The Steelworkers union has denounced the alleged bomb plot as "absolutely wrong."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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