A grand jury in Nevada has voted to indict six Republicans, including the party’s state chair, after they falsely pledged the state’s electoral votes to Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Nevada’s Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford announced felony charges on Wednesday, marking another round of state-level criminal charges against participants of a so-called “fake elector” plot that sought to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, a scheme central to federal and state charges against the former president.
“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,” Mr Ford said in a statement.
“We cannot allow attacks on democracy to go unchallenged,” he added. “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.”
Nevada’s sitting GOP chair Michael McDonald, Clark County chair Jesse Law, state party vice chair Jim Hindle III, Jim DeGraffenreid, Shawn Meehan and Eileen Rice each face charges of offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument by submitting fraudulent documents to state and federal officials.
Convictions on those charges could include a maximum of four and five years in prison and a minimum of one year in prison.
They each signed off on false Electoral College votes for Mr Trump in December 2020 despite his loss, according to findings from US Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith, the House select committee investigating the events surrounding January 6, and now the office of Nevada’s attorney general.
They were among members of a so-called “alternate elector” plan put in motion by Mr Trump’s allies in states that he lost. At least five states have since launched criminal investigations into their subversion, and prosecutors in two states – Georgia and Michigan – have filed criminal charges against participants.
Kenneth Chesebro, among the architects of the multi-state scheme, was initially charged in a sweeping indictment targeting Mr Trump and 17 other co-defendants allegedly involved with a “criminal enterprise” in Georgia to overturn that state’s results.
Chesebro, who wrote a series of memos explaining how those electors could advance in several states, later pleaded guilty as part of a deal with Fulton County prosecutors that reduced the charges against him.
He agreed to meet with investigators in Nevada in an apparent effort to avoid prosecution in the state.
The US Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority dismissed the legitimacy of the “alternate elector” plan earlier this year.