RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada grand jury on Wednesday indicted six Republicans who submitted certificates to Congress falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 presidential election in their state, making Nevada the third to seek charges against so-called “fake electors.”
“We cannot allow attacks on democracy to go unchallenged,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement Wednesday. “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 began investigating the fake electors last month. That announcement marked a shift for the first-term Democrat, who previously was quiet on whether he would investigate the fake electors before saying that state law would not allow him to do so.
The fake electors have been charged with offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument. Those two categories of felonies have penalties that range from one year up to either four or five years in prison.
Among the fake electors is Nevada GOP chairman Michael McDonald, who has pushed to bypass the state-run presidential primary to nominate a Republican presidential nominee, instead opting for a party-run caucus, which would require voter ID and paper ballots. He did not respond to a phone call requesting comment on Wednesday.
Clark County GOP Chair Jesse Law was also indicted, along with Jim Hindle, who runs elections in rural Storey County. Hindle did not return a voice message left Wednesday requesting comment.
In December 2020, six Nevada GOP members signed certificates falsely stating that Trump won Nevada and sent them to Congress and the National Archives, where they were ultimately ignored. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol looked into the role these fake electors in key battleground states took in Trump’s attempt to cling to power after his 2020 defeat.
Michigan‘s Attorney General filed felony charges in July against 16 Republican fake electors, who would face eight criminal charges including forgery and conspiracy to commit election forgery. The top charge carried a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
In Wisconsin, 10 Republicans who posed as electors settled a civil lawsuit Wednesday, admitting their actions were part of an effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. Sixteen fake electors also have been charged in Georgia, three of which were also charged in August alongside Trump in a sweeping indictment accusing them of participating in a wide-ranging scheme to illegally overturn the results of the presidential election. They have pleaded not guilty.
Ford had testified in support of a bill that would have criminalized future fake electors. That passed Nevada’s Democratic-controlled Legislature but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, who said the punishment between four and 10 years in prison was too harsh.