Six Republican electors submit fake certificates to Washington, state officials, federal court
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada prosecutors have filed phone records from the state Republican Party chairman and the Clark County party chair as part of the “fake elector” case involving the two men and four others, documents said.
In 2020, the six so-called fake electors submitted phony electoral certificates to re-elect then-President Donald Trump. Last month, lawyers for the group asked a judge to throw out the case and move it out of Las Vegas.
In December, a Clark County grand jury indicted the group on charges of offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument, stemming from the submission of the documents in 2020. Both charges are felonies. Prosecutors charged Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald, Clark County Republican Party Chairman Jesse Law, Jim DeGraffenreid, Durward “James” Hindle III, Shawn Meehan and Eileen Rice.
In documents the attorney general’s office filed Thursday, the day of the party’s caucus, prosecutors said they had obtained call records from McDonald and Law, which they said showed the men making phone calls to each other in the days leading up to the certificates’ submission. The contents of the calls were confidential with prosecutors citing privacy.
“These phone calls were interspersed during the timeframe in which the co-defendants were also exchanging emails with proposed draft language and revisions of the false or forged documents they eventually offered for filing and uttered,” prosecutors said in court documents.
In response to the group’s request to have the case moved from Clark County, prosecutors argue McDonald and Law live in the county and planned the Dec. 14 meeting and subsequent sending of electoral certificates within the county, documents said.
The six electors signed the paperwork signaling their support for Trump in a symbolic ceremony devoid of any legal merit and coinciding with the official state-sanctioned tally on Dec. 14, 2020.
As the 8 News Now Investigators reported in December 2021, the certificate sent by Nevada Republicans and received by the National Archives looks much different than the official state-sealed one and reads, “We, the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified electors for president and vice president of the United States of America from the State of Nevada, do hereby certify six electoral votes for Trump.”
The outside of the envelope accompanying the documents was stamped and verified by the U.S. Postal Service and was addressed and sent via certified mail to the National Archives from the rural town of Minden, Nevada. The USPS time-date stamps indicate the packet arrived in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 22, 2020.
Prosecutors added Thursday that a copy of the fake certificates was also mailed to the federal courthouse in Las Vegas.
In the days after and in filings since, the six Republican electors said they filed the certificates due to the then-ongoing legal battles from the Trump campaign. However, in mid-December 2020, no legal case remained open in Nevada. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled against the Trump campaign on Dec. 8, 2020, six days before the Dec. 14 ceremony.
“Still, in the days following the Nevada Supreme Court’s ruling, defendants took steps to draft, revise and execute an instrument claiming the contrary to be true — that Donald Trump had won the election, and that they were therefore the presidential electors for Nevada,” prosecutors said. “These actions, taken after the ruling of the Nevada Supreme Court, evidence defendants’ intent to commit the crimes alleged.”
In a statement after the event, Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald said the party’s electors convened in Carson City due to ongoing legal battles seeking to overturn the election results.
Last legislative session, Democratic Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said no state law allowed him to prosecute the electors. However, his office presented the case to a Clark County grand jury in late November.
Last month, lawyers for the three electors said impaneling a Clark County grand jury was more favorable to the prosecutors’ outcomes, implying Nevada’s largest county leans toward Democrats’ favor. They also cite the ceremony’s location in northern Nevada, not Las Vegas. They also said prosecutors failed to prove the electors “knowingly” provided false information.
No widespread voter fraud was ever discovered in Nevada. The state supreme court denied the Trump campaign’s request to overturn the state’s election results and proclaim the then-president the winner. Biden won Nevada by more than 33,000 votes, a result the court certified that November. Several Republicans, including Cegavske and then-Attorney General William Barr, said there was no evidence of any widespread fraud.
Representatives from the Nevada GOP have not responded to repeated requests for comment.
Judge Mary Kay Holthus was scheduled to hear the motion to dismiss on March 4. A jury trial was scheduled to begin that day, though lawyers have asked a judge to postpone the trial, which was scheduled to begin March 11.