Nevada judge dismisses Trump ‘fake electors’ case months after attack in viral courtroom video

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Nevada judge dismisses Trump ‘fake electors’ case months after attack in viral courtroom video

The same Las Vegas-area juge attacked by a violent offender who hurled himself over the bench in a viral courtroom video has made headlines again for dismissing the “fake electors” case related to the 2020 presidential election.

Clark County, Nevada, District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus on Friday threw out the battleground state’s indictment against six Republicans prosecutors say illegally submitted certificates to Congress certifying Trump as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. In doing so, Holthus said the office of Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, chose the wrong venue for the case. 

Clark County, where Holthus presides, is Nevada’s largest and contains Las Vegas, the state’s most Democratic-leaning city. 

Richard Wright, an attorney for one of the defendants, state GOP chairman Michael McDonald, accused Ford of bringing the case before a grand jury in Las Vegas instead of Carson City or Reno, northern Nevada cities in a more Republican region where the defendants allegedly signed and submitted fraudulent documents in a scheme to overturn President Biden’s victory.

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Court filings by the defendants argue the six Republicans met in Carson City, the capital of Nevada, located in a different county. 

“What exactly occurred here to give us jurisdiction?” Holthus said during Friday’s hearing, according to the New York Times. “I mean, let’s face it, the majority of this happened elsewhere, the way I read it.”

The judge called off the trial, which had been scheduled for January, for defendants also including Clark County Republican Party chairman Jesse Law; national party committee member Jim DeGraffenreid; national and Douglas County committee member Shawn Meehan; Storey County clerk Jim Hindle; and Eileen Rice, a party member from the Lake Tahoe area. Each was accused of offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument — felonies carrying a penalty of up to four or five years in prison.

Defendant Deobra Redden lunges toward Clark County District Judge Mary Kay Holthus at a sentencing hearing in Las Vegas on Jan. 3, 2024. (Screenshot/Fox News)

Defense attorneys bluntly declared the case dead, saying that to bring it now before another grand jury in another venue would violate a three-year statute of limitations that expired last December.

The judge decided that even though McDonald and Law live in Las Vegas, “everything took place up north.”

“Forum shopping? Absolutely,” Monti Jordana Levy, a lawyer for Rice, said, according to the Times. 

A spokesperson for Ford said the state attorney general’s office disagreed with the judge’s decision and “will be appealing immediately.”

This is not the first time a case involving Judge Holthus drew national attention.

While presiding over an unrelated case months ago, Holthus was gearing up to inform defendant Deobra Redden of his punishment inside a Clark County District courtroom on Jan. 3, before the scene descended into chaos when Redden was denied bond. Redden was being sentenced on a battery charge stemming from a baseball bat attack last year. 

Judge Mary Kay Holthus smiles in courtroom

Judge Mary Kay Holthus presides in court in Las Vegas, March 4, 2024.  (Wade Vandervort/Las Vegas Sun via AP, File)

In a video obtained by Fox News Digital, Redden’s attorney requested the judge give his client probation. 

“I think it’s time he got a taste of something else,” Holthus responded. 

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Video showed Redden then flying in the air over the bench with his arms and legs wide open, before landing on the judge. 

Trump shakes hands with Nevada GOP chair

Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald, right, shakes hands with presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump, Jan. 27, 2024, in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

The defendant, who had grabbed the judge’s hair, had to be wrestled off her by her clerk, Michael Lasso, and several court and jail officers, some of whom threw punches.

Lasso was treated for cuts on his hands and a marshal was hospitalized for a dislocated shoulder and a gash on his forehead. Holthus suffered some injuries but was back to work the next day. 

Five days after the attack, Redden, with his hands bound and netting over his face, was hauled back into court where Holthus completed sentencing on the battery charge, sending him to prison for up to four years. 

A grand jury on Feb. 8 indicted Redden on nine charges in connection to the courtroom attack, including attempted murder, battery on a protected person, and extortion by threat, KVVU reported

His attorney, Carl Arnold, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on behalf of his client, arguing that Redden was off his medication and in a “delusional state” at the time of the attack. 

In late March, the start of the trial against Redden was delayed from April until at least September. 

Redden in court with hands bound and mask over face

Deobra Redden, who was seen in a viral video attacking District Judge Mary Kay Holthus, appears again in front of Holthus to complete his sentencing at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Jan. 8, 2024.  (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Nevada is one of seven presidential battleground states where prosecutors brought “fake elector” cases related to Trump’s 2020 campaign. Others are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. None of those cases are scheduled to go to trial before the 2024 presidential election. 

Friday’s decision comes after a similar case was delayed indefinitely in Georgia amid an investigation into Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis‘ relationship with a prosecutor she hired. 

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A federal case from Washington, D.C., has also been delayed until the Supreme Court rules on Trump’s immunity claims

Nevada’s case, filed last December, focused on the actions of six defendants. Criminal cases in three other states focus on many more — 16 in Michigan, 19 in Georgia and 18 in Arizona.

Meehan is the only defendant in Nevada not to have been named by the state party as a delegate to the 2024 Republican National Convention next month in Milwaukee. 

Fox News’ Greg Norman and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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