Trump attorneys lose appeal to nullify Nevada election vote
LAS VEGAS (AP) — President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has lost its legal bid to nullify President-elect Joe Biden’s 33,596-vote electoral win in Nevada.
The Nevada Supreme Court issued a terse order late Tuesday upholding a state judge’s dismissal of a contest-of-election case that would have either had the Republican president declared the winner in Nevada or blocked the state’s six electoral votes from going to Biden. The nationwide Electoral College tally is next Monday.
“Appellants have not pointed to any unsupported factual findings, and we have identified none,” the justices said.
The state Republican party issued a statement complaining the appeal was decided on written filings submitted only hours before, and that Trump campaign attorneys didn’t get a chance to make oral arguments before the court. The statement accused the justices of rushing to judgment and failing to adequately consider evidence.
Attorneys Shana Weir and Jesse Binnall, who represented six would-be GOP electors on behalf of the Trump campaign, alleged widespread Nevada voter fraud and counting illegalities affected more than 130,000 votes. They had asked Monday for the appeal to be expedited as an emergency.
Attorneys for the state and national Democratic parties defended the integrity of the vote and Judge James Todd Russell’s order. In written filings, they derided the appeal as “reckless” and “lacking any legal basis.”
Russell, in Carson City, dismissed the Trump contest-of-election last Friday for failing to prove that illegal votes were cast and counted, or that legal votes were not counted.
“Contestants’ claims fail on the merits ... or under any other standard,” the judge said.
Russell, who was appointed to the bench in January 2007 by moderate Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn, is the son of a former GOP governor and grandson of a longtime state court judge who founded the Nevada State Museum in Carson City in 1939.
Nevada Supreme Court justices are elected in nonpartisan elections.
Their order praised Russell’s ruling, saying it “thoroughly addressed” the contest-of-election filing “and considered the evidence offered by appellants even when that evidence did not meet the requirements under Nevada law for expert testimony.”
“To prevail on this appeal, appellants must demonstrate error of law, findings of fact not supported by substantial evidence or an abuse of discretion in the admission or rejection of evidence by the district court,” the six justices said. “We are not convinced they have done so.”
Justice Elissa Cadish recused herself, citing personal relationships with named parties in the appeal.
Justice James Hardesty refused to step aside after Trump campaign lawyers accused him of bias for praising Republican Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s handling of the election. Hardesty’s comments came when the high court convened Nov. 24 to certify the statewide count of more than 1.4 million votes.
“We find no basis for Justice Hardesty’s disqualification,” his colleagues ruled.
The Nevada contest-of-election was one of about 50 legal actions brought by Trump’s campaign and his allies around the U.S. More than 30 have been rejected or dropped, according to an Associated Press tally, including several in state and federal courts in Nevada.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said last week the Justice Department did not find widespread voter fraud that could have changed the outcome of the presidential election.
This story corrects winning vote margin was 33,596, not 39,000.