Nevada Judge Throws Out Fake Electors Indictment

Attorney general plans to appeal, while Republicans' lawyers contend case is over
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 21, 2024 4:30 PM CDT
Nevada Judge Throws Out Fake Electors Indictment
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, left, and Matthew Rashbrook, a special prosecutor, enter the courtroom where Nevada Republicans accused in a fake elector scheme were being arraigned on Dec. 18 in Las Vegas.   (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

A Nevada state court judge dismissed a criminal indictment Friday against six Republicans accused of submitting certificates to Congress falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner of the state's 2020 presidential election, potentially killing the case by ruling that state prosecutors chose the wrong venue to file the case. Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford stood in a Las Vegas courtroom after Clark County District Judge Mary Kay Holthus delivered her ruling, declaring that he would take the case directly to the state's Supreme Court, the AP reports. "The judge got it wrong, and we'll be appealing immediately," Ford told reporters.

Defense attorneys declared the case dead, saying that to bring it now to another grand jury in another venue would violate a three-year statute of limitations that expired in December. "They're done," said Margaret McLetchie, attorney for Clark County Republican Party Chairman Jesse Law. The judge called off the trial, which had been scheduled for next January, for defendants including state GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, national party committee member Jim DeGraffenreid, national and Douglas County committee member Shawn Meehan, and Eileen Rice, a party member from the Lake Tahoe area. Each was charged with offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument, felonies that carry penalties of up to four or five years in prison.

Defense attorneys contended that Ford improperly brought the case in Las Vegas instead of Carson City, the capital, or Reno, cities closer to where he says a crime occurred. They also accused prosecutors of failing to present to the grand jury evidence that would have exonerated their clients. All but Meehan have been named delegates to the 2024 Republican National Convention next month in Milwaukee. Nevada is one of seven presidential battleground states where slates of fake electors falsely certified that Trump had won in 2020 over Democrat Joe Biden. Others are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Criminal charges have been brought in Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona.

(More Nevada stories.)

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