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Montana man charged with Letterman plot

Authorities: He planned to hold baby, nanny for ransom

David Letterman

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A man who worked as a painter on late-night talk show host David Letterman's Montana ranch has been charged with plotting to kidnap the entertainer's 16-month-old son and the baby's nanny, and seek a $5 million ransom.

Kelly A. Frank, 43, of Simms, Montana, was on probation when he was arrested and charged with solicitation in Cascade County on Monday, said Sally Hilander, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Corrections.

She said that Frank had approached a male acquaintance about the plot March 2. That person "didn't like the idea" and reported the information to the Teton County sheriff's office Sunday, she said.

In his initial court appearance Thursday, Frank did not enter a plea, and bond was set at $500,000, deputy Teton County attorney Laurie McKinnon said.

It was unclear where Frank was being held, or whether he had a private or court-appointed attorney.

He had received a 10-year suspended sentence October 15, 1987, on an intimidation charge in Lewis and Clark County, Hilander said. He had been on probation since January 13, 1999, she said.

In a written statement, the talk-show host joined his girlfriend in saying, "Regina and I would like to express our endless gratitude to the FBI and law enforcement professionals from Teton County and surrounding areas of Montana. We will be forever grateful for their tireless efforts and determination to vigorously pursue this situation."

"The Late Show with David Letterman" was not taped Thursday due to CBS coverage of the NCAA Tournament.

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