Trial Set for Indicted Nevada Alternate Electors Who Voted for Trump

Trial Set for Indicted Nevada Alternate Electors Who Voted for Trump


The trial date is set for March 11, 2024, for six Nevada Republican electors who were indicted for felonies of offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a false instrument, referring to the alternate slates of votes they cast for former President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential elections.

Arraigned on Dec. 18 through remote attendance at the Clark County District Court, all six pleaded not guilty.

The defendants are Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald, Nevada GOP Vice Chairs James DeGraffenreid and Durward Hindle, Clark County GOP Chair Jesse Law, and Douglas County GOP officials Shawn Meehan and Eileen Rice.

Just the day before, the electors were mentioned by President Trump at a rally in Reno when he said they were being treated “unfairly.”

“[Mr. McDonald is] a tremendous man, tremendous guy, gets treated so unfairly, and he loves this country, and he loves this state,” President Trump said.

He also named Mr. Law and Mr. Hindle and said they were “fantastic” men and thanked them.

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President Trump suggested that the indictment was politically motivated and tied to the Biden administration.

“It’s no wonder crooked Joe and the far-left lunatics are desperate to stop us by any means necessary. They’re willing to violate the U.S. Constitution at levels never seen before in order to win. They’re dirty players. They play dirty. They weaponize justice,” he said.

“Look at what they’re doing right here to Michael and great people in this state. It’s a disgrace. Joe Biden is a threat to democracy. They’re weaponizing law enforcement for high-level election interference because we’re beating them so badly in the polls.”

The grand jury indictment was unsealed earlier this month.

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, who’s prosecuting the case, said: “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.”

Mr. Ford and attorneys from his office attended the arraignment in person and told the judge that they would begin turning over discovery obligations soon, according to CNN.

Wave of Investigations

Earlier this year, Mr. Ford had indicated that charges couldn’t be brought in the state but had answered several times that his office was working with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the matter.

Pushing back on claims that the charges were politically motivated, he told reporters during a press conference last week that “nothing changed” regarding his decision to prosecute.

“As I’ve indicated, what we’ve been endeavoring to do is ensure that we have enough facts and evidence to support every element of the crimes that we rest our indictment on and will be prosecuted. Every element. And I’m on no one’s time frame, at all,” he said, according to The Nevada Independent.
Mr. Ford’s investigation into the 2020 Republican electors was first reported by Politico in November, with sources saying he had been investigating for weeks and that charges were to come.

In recent weeks—three years after votes were cast for President Trump in seven states that have since challenged the general election results—a wave of investigations have been revealed as indictments were unsealed.

In Arizona, Attorney General Kris Mayes announced an investigation in November, confirming that she had been in contact with the DOJ and investigators in Michigan and Georgia.

In Michigan, 16 Republican electors were charged with eight crimes each in July, with one of the defendants accepting a plea deal in October.

In Wisconsin, there’s no confirmed criminal case, but a civil case brought by Democratic electors against 10 Republican electors was settled just this month.

“It’s essential to have accountability and to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Jeffrey Mandell, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

“We have heard in the more than a year since the fraudulent electors [made] the excuse that what they did was not wrong, it was totally fine. We want a court to make clear that is not true.”

The Republican electors agreed to acknowledge that President Joe Biden won Wisconsin. They withdrew their filings, agreed to not serve as presidential electors in any election where President Trump is on the ballot, and sent statements to offices that received their 2020 votes saying their actions were “part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results.”

In New Mexico, the attorney general’s office confirmed that an investigation is underway. In Pennsylvania, there’s no known criminal investigation at this time.

In Georgia, President Trump himself was indicted along with 18 others—including several attorneys who advised his campaign to use alternate electors.

Election Challenge

Attorney Kenneth Chesebro was widely publicized as the “architect” of the alternate elector scheme after a legal memo he penned for the Trump campaign was leaked.

In addition to advising that alternate slates of votes be cast in President Trump’s favor in order to preserve an avenue for a legal challenge, his outline strategy included delaying the counting of the votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

Mr. Chesebro was indicted along with President Trump in August in Fulton County, Georgia, and has since taken a plea deal, as have three other defendants. He had originally been indicted on seven felonies and pleaded guilty only to conspiracy to commit the crime of filing false documents.

In a Fulton County court filing, Mr. Chesebro confirmed that he faces investigations in Nevada, Arizona, and Washington regarding the 2020 elections.

In Washington, President Trump has been charged in federal court for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. That case, prosecuted by special counsel Jack Smith, has since been paused and is being reviewed by an appeals court for dismissal based on presidential immunity. The Supreme Court will review the presidential immunity defense, by request of the special counsel.

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