Nevada’s attorney general on Wednesday announced charges against six so-called fake electors who falsely claimed former President Trump won the state in the 2020 presidential election.
“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,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement. “We cannot allow attacks on democracy to go unchallenged.”
The six Nevadans face felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged document for disseminating a document titled “Certificate of the Votes of the 2020 Electors from Nevada” to several government entities.
The pro-Trump electors facing charges are Michael McDonald, Jesse Law, Jim DeGraffenreid, Durward James Hindle III, Shawn Meehan and Eileen Rice. The Nevada attorney general’s office said in a statement that they posed as “duly qualified” electors in an effort to “disrupt the results of a free and fair presidential election.”
The alternate electors scheme, spearheaded by Trump lawyers, relied on former Vice President Mike Pence to certify slates of Trump-supporting electors in battleground states instead of the true Electoral College votes cast for Biden. He ultimately declined to do so on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day of the election certification — after which a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in protest.
In addition to Nevada, fake electors allegedly convened in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Wisconsin, claiming without basis that they were “duly elected” electors from their states.
Michigan’s attorney general in July charged 16 people for falsely stating they were the state’s “duly elected and qualified electors.” The investigations into fake electors there, in New Mexico and in Arizona are ongoing.
In Georgia, three fake electors were charged alongside Trump and more than a dozen others in a sprawling racketeering case alleging they joined a criminal enterprise bent on keeping Trump in the White House.
Kenneth Chesebro — the Trump lawyer who was a defendant in the Georgia case before pleading guilty to lesser charges as part of an agreement with Fulton County prosecutors — is cooperating with the probes in Nevada and Arizona.
Planning in Nevada to use an alternate slate of electors began as early as four days before the 2020 election, when DeGraffenreid — one of the charged fake electors — told other state party officials in a text that former Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) “might do a lot of things, but sending a slate of Republican electors without them being clearly the winners of the popular vote is not one of them.”
Details from the months after Trump lost the 2020 election indicate that the former president and his closest allies could be implicated in the state’s investigation.
DeGraffenreid, a GOP committee member, emailed then-Trump lawyer Chesebro on Dec. 11, 2020, with the subject “URGENT-Trump-Pence campaign asked me to contact you to coordinate Dec. 14 voting by Nevada electors,” according to the Jan. 6 committee’s final report.
McDonald, another of the fake electors charged, joined a conference call on Nov. 4, 2020, with Trump, his son Eric Trump, former chief of staff Mark Meadows and longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, according to deposition transcripts released by the now-defunct House Jan. 6 committee.
“They went full attack mode,” McDonald later wrote of the call in a text message.
Updated 4:03 p.m.