Home>Articles>Sigal Chattah and Tisha Black Square Off In Debate For Attorney General

Even the blinding white sneakers couldn't steal the show as Nevada Newsmakers hosted the GOP AG debate between Sigal Chattah and Tisha Black. (Photo: Nevada Newsmakers)

Sigal Chattah and Tisha Black Square Off In Debate For Attorney General

Agreements, Disagreements, and AG Aaron Ford took center stage

By Megan Barth, May 6, 2022 3:11 pm

As reported by The Globe, the race for Nevada Attorney General has turned personal between Republican candidates Sigal Chattah and Tisha Black. Chattah has referred to Black as a “progressive plant,” a RINO, and a “Democratic donor,” while Black has labeled Chattah a “DUI lawyer” who is “soft on crime” and challenged her record.

The barbs continued during a debate hosted by Nevada Newsmakers Sam Shad and co-moderated by Victor Joecks of the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Following the leaked SCOTUS opinion on Roe V. Wade, the debate began with questions related to their positions on abortion.

Chattah claimed, ““In Nevada, we know that Ballot Question 7 in 1990 made it very clear that the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is embedded in our Constitution,” Chattah said. “So really, the attorney general has no position or jurisdiction in that office. The office is irrelevant at that point.”

Shad clarified that the law is statutory law–one that must be changed by the voters through a referendum.

Attorney Sigal Chattah, Republican candidate for Nevada Attorney General (Photo: Chattah4Nevada.com)

Chattah described herself as “pro-life” and said “life begins at the time of fetal heartbeat.”

“The way I look at it is the same way that we do sentencing enhancements on unborn children, victims of unborn children,” Chattah said. “I would mirror it to that, and I have a problem with that inconsistency.”

Black said the leak “was troubling” and would also not seek changes to the law as it has been “decided by the people.”

Attorney General Aaron Ford has also made headlines in his use of the Attorney Generals office for national issues. As highlighted by The Nevada Independent:

Moderators then turned to a question over the propriety of a decision by Ford in 2019 to enlist a private law firm — and his former employer, Eglet Adams (then known as Eglet Prince) — to litigate the state’s high-profile lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

In 2017, Eglet Prince was contracted by nine local and county governments to pursue an opioid lawsuit, but only after it had been rejected by then-Attorney General . Laxalt, a Republican now running for U.S. Senate, instead joined a multi-state coalition of 41 state attorneys general in pursuing an investigation and, ultimately, damages from the pharmaceutical industry for its role in the country’s opioid crisis.

That same year, Ford, then the majority leader of the state Senate, backed a last-minute amendment that removed a cap on fees awarded to law firms contracting with the state.

When Eglet Prince was eventually awarded the opioid contract in 2019 — after Ford had recused himself from the selection process — initial contract details showed the firm stood to gain anywhere from $240 million to $350 million, assuming settlement ranges in excess of $1 billion.

When the state announced it would join a multi-state opioid settlement in January after initially rejecting the settlement offer, it was unclear precisely how much of the $285 million settlement would go to Eglet Adams, in light of caps on fees in certain jurisdictions. However, the state’s contract with the firm stipulates that its share would be 19 percent in fees, or a payout to the firm in excess of $40 to $50 million.”

Chattah referred to these actions as a “clear abuse of the office” and “there has been a lack of leadership that is Nevada-centric.” Ford, she said, “has spent a lot of time on DC platforms rather than Nevada platforms. Ultimately, I think it created headlines, and it had a really bad effect on the reputation of the Office of Attorney General.”

Black also called the issue a “failure of leadership: “It’s a failure of leadership to direct state attorneys toward cases that are important to Nevada,” Black said. “Attorney General Ford has been representing Harvard, using our resources here to support cases for Harvard, not our resources to support Nevada.”

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford. (Photo: State of Nevada)

“Attorney General Ford has spent a lot of time on D.C. platforms rather than Nevada platforms,” Black said. “I think there’s a lot to be done in the state of Nevada in terms of soft-on-crime policies, government regulation. I think that the government really only has two things that it should be concerned with, which is protecting its citizenry, and then basically, getting out of the way.”

Chattah, similarly, said Ford has “t​​aken more of a national stance on what is good at the time,” referencing efforts by Ford’s office to expand “pattern and practice” investigations into police departments as well as to pursue limits on no-knock warrants, such as the one that led to the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville, Kentucky, police in 2020.

“He took two national cases and domesticated them and created two pieces of legislation essentially … which were both completely obsolete and really infused a national platform into Nevada,” Chattah said.

When asked whether they would defend state policies they disagreed with — specifically, the executive orders issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak during the pandemic, which led to the shuttering of churches and “non-essential businesses,” both Black and Chattah said they would not.

Black referred to those orders as an “overreach” while Chattah cited the cases she brought against Sisolak for the closing of churches and mask mandates.

On the issue of homelessness, both candidates agreed that municipalities had a right to remove homeless encampments under municipal codes to enforce the law.

And this is where the agreements between the two ended and the personal jabs began.

As Chattah spoke of her two-decade career in criminal justice, Black spun that as “a lifetime of defending criminals” and characterized defense attorneys as “a position that is the definition of undermining the men and women in blue.”

“It’s unimaginable that you would spend 20 years as a criminal defense attorney undermining the police and wasting taxpayers’ money, and then turn around and say you want to be the attorney general,” Black said.

Chattah fired back, saying that Black “has a fundamental issue with the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.”

“She has called me a DUI attorney and cited three federal cases that I have dealt with white-collar crime,” Chattah said. “Everybody has a Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and to undermine defense attorneys is a huge problem, and demonstrates that she has a lack of understanding to be the top prosecutor and the top cop in the state.”

Black ceded, “You’ve been, to your credit, very good at being a criminal defense attorney,” then charged “But that is by its definition soft on crime.”

Tisha Black, GOP candidate for Attorney General of Nevada (Photo: tishablacknv.com)

There were other jabs towards the end of the debate, and we encourage our readers to watch it here.

The Globe reached out to both candidates for their comments from the debate, and each quickly provided a statement.

Kristi Wilkinson, Communications Director for Tisha Black, emailed a statement:

“The debate clearly displayed what we’ve known to be true from the start. Ms. Chattah is a headline chaser with a losing record. Her cyberbully antics online, like her, aren’t substantive. In the various lawsuits she’s filed over the last two years, her cases have all been dismissed, and in regards to the Vaccine Rollout case, she filed and then withdrew it once the headline had been captured.Chattah has a long history of being financially irresponsible and aligning herself with criminals. Soft on crime leadership is not what Nevadans deserve or want. They already have it with Aaron Ford, it’s time for a smart, conservative change, and we know Tisha Black is the right choice. We’d urge voters to visit stopthechattah.com for more information on our opponent; there’s too much for us to cover here in a brief comment.’

Sigal Chattah provided a direct comment via a phone call as she was driving from an event in Tonopah, NV:

My take away from the debate is that Ms. Black is a proponent of warrantless searches and seizures, conviction of the innocent– despite exculpatory evidence, a proponent of suspending a defendant’s right to a speedy trial, and warrants being issued without probable cause. 

These are all things I have defended the past twenty years of my career and it demonstrates that as a proponent of such tyranny, every Nevadan should be concerned if Ms. Black is the top prosecutor of the state. 

They can be assured that their 4th, 5th, and 6th amendment constitutional rights will be completely disregarded by Ms. Black. 

As the next AG for Nevada, I will ensure that public safety is ensured without compromising Nevadans constitutional rights.

The winner of the June primary will go on to face Democratic incumbent Aaron Ford, who was narrowly elected to the office in 2018 receiving a  0.47 percent margin against Republican .

After publishing, Sigal Chattah wanted to add that she has been endorsed by PSAN and PPA representing nearly 100 law enforcement organizations in Nevada.

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Megan Barth
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