Nevada Judge Dismisses Charges Against GOP Members Over 2020 Election Certificates

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On Friday, a Nevada state court judge dismissed a criminal indictment against six Republicans accused of submitting false certificates to Congress declaring Donald Trump the winner of the state’s 2020 presidential election, potentially killing the case by ruling that state prosecutors filed the case in the wrong venue.

Aaron Ford, Nevada’s attorney general, stood in a Las Vegas courtroom moments after Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus issued her decision, proclaiming that he would take the matter directly to the state Supreme Court.

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“The judge got it wrong, and we’ll appeal right away,” Ford told reporters afterward. He declined further comment.

Defense attorneys declared the case dead, claiming that bringing it back before a grand jury in another location, such as Nevada’s capital, Carson City, would break a three-year statute of limitations on filing charges, which expired in December.

“They’re done,” said Margaret McLetchie, an attorney representing Jesse Law, the Clark County Republican Party chairman and one of the defendants in the lawsuit.

The trial of 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, was canceled by the judge. Each was charged with presenting a fraudulent instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument, which are crimes punishable by up to four or five years in jail.

Defense attorneys argued that Ford brought the case in Las Vegas rather than Carson City or Reno, which are northern Nevada cities closer to the alleged crime scene. They also accused prosecutors of failing to disclose information to the grand jury that would have exonerated their clients, claiming they had no intent to commit a crime.

The state party has named all but Meehan as Nevada delegates to the 2024 Republican National Convention, which will be held next month in Milwaukee.

Sigal Chattah, Meehan’s defense attorney, stated that her client “chose not to” pursue the post. Chattah ran as a Republican for state attorney general in 2022, but lost to Democrat Ford by just under 8% of the vote.

After the court hearing, Hindle’s attorney, Brian Hardy, declined to comment on requests from advocacy groups urging him to resign from his elected post as election overseer in northern Nevada’s Story County, which has a population of just more than 4,100. These calls included those made at a news conference outside the courthouse on Friday by three groups’ representatives.

Nevada is one of seven presidential battleground states where phony electors falsely certified Donald Trump won the 2020 election against Democrat Joe Biden.

Others include Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Criminal charges have been filed in Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona.

In 2020, Trump lost Nevada by over 30,000 votes to Biden, and the state’s Democratic electors confirmed the results in front of Nevada’s Republican secretary of state, Barbara Cegavske. Her defense of the results as reliable and accurate prompted the state GOP to condemn her, but Cegavske eventually undertook an inquiry and discovered no convincing evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state.

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