Nevada on Wednesday charged six Republicans, including the state Republican Party chair, for pretending to be state electors in 2020 to hand the election to Donald Trump.
State Attorney General Aaron Ford opened the investigation earlier this fall, and a grand jury issued an indictment Wednesday. Nevada is now the third state to seek charges against fake pro-Trump electors.
“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 statement. “We cannot allow attacks on democracy to go unchallenged.”
After Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Republicans in seven highly contested states launched attempts to overturn the results. GOP operatives signed certificates falsely stating they were the state’s Electoral College representatives and tried to claim that Trump had won their state.
Many of the fake electors were highly ranked state Republicans. The Nevada fake electors included Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald. McDonald was one of those indicted on Wednesday.
Nevada is now the third state to charge fake electors. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged 16 people in July with felonies for pretending to be 2020 electors. The accused include state Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock and state Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Berden.
In Georgia, the Fulton County district attorney has charged some fake electors as part of her larger indictment against Trump. The former president and his allies have been indicted in the Peach State for trying to overturn the 2020 election results.
There is also an investigation into the fake elector scheme in Arizona. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, 10 Republicans who posed as fake electors settled a lawsuit over their actions on Wednesday. Under the agreement, the Republicans acknowledged that Biden had won the state and promised not to serve as electors in 2024 or any other election where Trump is on the ballot.
The other states where Republicans tried to overthrow the results—New York and Pennsylvania—have yet to publicly announce whether they will probe the fake elector plot.
The plan to use fake electors was initially thought of by lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, who was indicted in Georgia, and then eventually taken over by Trump lawyer John Eastman. An internal memo reveals that Chesebro knew his “bold, controversial strategy” would “likely” be rejected by the Supreme Court.
But the point of Chesebro’s plan was not actually to pass legal and judicial scrutiny. Instead, the goal was to increase the spotlight on the baseless claims of voter fraud and to give Trump’s campaign more time to win its multiple lawsuits challenging the vote results. Judges threw out every single one of those lawsuits because they had no basis.