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‘Fake Electors’ Case Dismissed, Clark County Judge Cites Lack of Jurisdiction

Attorney General Aaron Ford claims the judge ‘got it wrong,’ vows to appeal to the Supreme Court

By Megan Barth, June 21, 2024 1:14 pm

Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus has dismissed a case involving six Republican ‘fake electors’ citing that the county was not appropriate jurisdiction. The prosecution, brought by Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford, contends they will take the case to the Nevada Supreme Court as the statute of limitations has expired to move the case to another county.

“You have literally, in my opinion, a crime that has occurred in another jurisdiction,” Holthus said. “It’s so appropriately up north and so appropriately not here.”

According to reports, AG Ford said the judge “got it wrong.”

The Republican defendants include NV GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, Vice Chair Jim Hindle III, Republican National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid, Clark County Republican Party chair Jesse Law, Shawn Meehan, and Eileen Rice.

The defendants attorney’s sought to dismiss the case, arguing that the appropriate jurisdiction would be in Carson City where the six electors held a ceremony to sign the slate of electoral votes for former President Donald J. Trump in 2020, or in Douglas County where the certificates were mailed from.

Per a  report from Eric Neugeboren of the Nevada Independent:

Attorney Richard Wright, who is representing McDonald, said the motion to dismiss the case was supported by a 2021 Nevada Supreme Court ruling involving murders committed in Washoe and Douglas counties. The high court ruled at the time that if a location was only  involved in preparatory acts and the formation of intent, it is an insufficient venue for a trial.

In addition, Wright argued that the fraudulent documents were erroneously sent to Miranda Du, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court of Nevada, in Las Vegas despite Du being based in Reno, according to testimony from the court clerk, which Wright said was withheld from the grand jury.

“It temporarily made a pit stop in Las Vegas,” Wright said.

The six defendants were indicted by a Clark County grand jury in December 2023 and were charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing, a category C felony, and Uttering a Forged Instrument, a category D felony, for offering a false instrument titled “Certificate of the Votes of the 2020 Electors from Nevada” to the President of the Senate; the Archivist of the United States; the Nevada Secretary of State; and the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.

“When the efforts to undermine faith in our democracy began after the 2020 election, I made it clear that I would do everything in my power to defend the institutions of our nation and our state,” Ford said in a press conference following the indictment. “We cannot allow attacks on democracy to go unchallenged. Today’s indictments are the product of a long and thorough investigation, and as we pursue this prosecution, I am confident that our judicial system will see justice done.”

Ford further pressed for specific legislation to “directly address” and “criminalize fake-elector schemes” referring to the defendants’ actions as a “grave offense.”

“There is no statute that directly addresses what SB 133 covered – fake electors. There is no statute that criminalizes attempting to pass yourself off as an elector when you are not one. Nor is there a statute that criminalizes fake-elector schemes. SB 133 would have directly criminalized these actions. That’s why I testified in support of it – to create a law that directly addressed the conduct in question. SB 133 passed, but it was unfortunately vetoed by the governor. So, we still don’t have a law that directly addresses fake electors,” Ford told reporters.

“I noted during my testimony for Senate Bill 133 that, “as long as I am Attorney General, I will never stop fighting against those seeking to undermine our elections. I will never stop fighting against those that seek to undermine our democracy.” I meant it”, Ford added.

In legislative testimony, Ford advocated Senate Bill 133. sponsored by Democratic State Senator Skip Daly, which proposed criminal penalties (4-10 years imprisonment) for anyone found guilt of participating in or “creating a false slate of presidential electors.”

Governor Joe Lombardo vetoed the measure, saying the penalty would be harsher than that for high-level fentanyl traffickers, domestic violence perpetrators and “even some of the most extreme and violent actors on January 6.”

“Because SB 133 does nothing to ensure the security of our elections and merely provides disproportionately harsh penalties for an, admittedly, terrible crime, I cannot support it,” Lombardo stated at the time of his veto.

Editors note: The defendants attorneys are preparing a public statement. The Globe will add the statement to the article when released.


This post has been updated to define Carson City as the appropriate judicial venue. 

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Megan Barth
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