Judge: Vegas man’s vote fraud claim ‘cheap political stunt’

Nov 16, 2021, 4:32 PM | Updated: 5:52 pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas man’s admission that he voted twice in November 2020 in a case that state Republicans seized on to claim voter irregularities amounted to “a cheap political stunt” that backfired, a state court judge said Tuesday.

Donald “Kirk” Hartle appeared by videoconference from his defense attorney’s office to plead guilty to a misdemeanor — voting more than once in the same election — and told Clark County District Court Judge Carli Kierny he accepted full responsibility for his actions and regrets them.

Hartle’s attorney, David Chesnoff, prevented his client from having to describe publicly how he voted early using a ballot that had been mailed to his dead wife. Rosemarie Hartle died in 2017 but her name remained on the voter rolls.

Chesnoff told the judge that state Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office agreed to reduce two felony charges against Hartle to the misdemeanor.

Kierny made it clear she was unhappy with the deal but accepted it. Hartle was fined $2,000 and has to stay out of trouble for one year. The judge set a Nov. 17, 2022, date to review the result.

“This seems to me to be a cheap political stunt that kind of backfired,” Kierny said, “and shows that our voting system actually works because you were ultimately caught.”

“Not to follow the negotiations would be a political stunt of my own and I am not willing to do that,” she added.

Hartle, 55, chief financial officer for companies owned by state Republican party finance chairman Donald Ahern, could have faced up to eight years in prison if convicted of the two felonies.

Ahern’s company hosted a reelection campaign event in September 2020 for then-President Donald Trump, and Ahern owns a Las Vegas hotel at which a national group espousing fringe QAnon conspiracy theories met in October.

Ford, a Democrat, and Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, issued a joint statement after Hartle’s plea.

“I am pleased that the truth was uncovered,” said Cegavske, who was censured last April by her own party after being accused of failing to fully investigate allegations of fraud in the 2020 election.

Cegavske repeatedly defended Nevada’s election results as reliable and accurate, and denied claims of widespread fraud despite attacks from Trump and other Republicans. Cegavske said after she was reprimanded by the Nevada GOP that she had been attacked for refusing to “put my thumb on the scale of democracy.”

“Though rare, voter fraud can undercut trust in our election system,” Ford said in Tuesday’s statement, adding that his office “will pursue any credible allegations of voter fraud.”

The Secretary of State’s office investigators began a probe of Hartle’s case a year ago, said Jennifer Russell, spokeswoman for Cegavske’s office, after former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt and American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp held a news conference to allege widespread voter fraud in Nevada.

Laxalt co-chaired the Trump campaign in Nevada. He is now seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

Schlapp named Rosemarie Hartle and one other person among what he said were “hundreds” of cases of dead people voting in Nevada.

Investigators determined the other case, involving a woman who used a deceased relative’s ballot instead of her own, was accidental.

Cegavske’s office said in April that reviews of election fraud allegations delivered to her office by the state GOP in March found some were already under investigation and most were baseless or inaccurately interpreted.

Nevada GOP officials did not immediately respond Tuesday to messages about Hartle’s plea.

Ford on Tuesday called Hartle’s case “particularly egregious because the offender continually spread inaccurate information about our elections despite being the source of fraud himself.”

The Nevada GOP tweeted a year ago about Hartle’s claim that someone voted with his wife’s ballot and urging media “to understand we are finding concrete cases of voter irregularities that they must expose.”

Hartle, in an interview with KLAS-TV at the time, said his case “lent some credence to what you’ve been hearing in the media about these possibilities and now it makes me wonder how pervasive is this?”

State and federal courts in Nevada and other states rejected dozens of election challenges by Republicans and Trump’s presidential campaign, including claims of widespread voter fraud.

Certified results in Nevada showed that President Joe Biden, the Democrat, defeated Trump by 33,596 of 1.4 million votes cast, or about 2.4%.

Hartle’s was the only active voter fraud case in Nevada, Ford’s office said.

In an earlier Nevada case, a 53-year-old man was sentenced last July to up to two years of probation for his guilty plea to one felony charge of voting twice — in Benton, Arkansas, and in Las Vegas — during the 2016 presidential election.

At least five other people have been convicted in Nevada since 2011 of registration fraud during voter recruitment, and one woman pleaded guilty to trying to vote twice in 2012.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss arrives to attend the Conservative Party conference at the ICC, ...
Associated Press

UK’s Truss sticks by economic plan as her party worries

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss said Sunday that she could have done a better job “laying the ground” for her package of unfunded tax cuts, but insisted she would push on with an economic plan that has caused turmoil on financial markets and weakened the country’s public finances. Truss acknowledged that the […]
3 hours ago
Women weep after receiving confirmation that their family member is among those killed in soccer ri...
Associated Press

174 dead after fans stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — Panic and a chaotic run for exits after police fired tear gas at an Indonesian soccer match to drive away rioting fans left at least 174 dead, most of whom were trampled upon or suffocated, making it one of the deadliest sports events in the world. Attention immediately focused on the […]
3 hours ago
Latvian Prime Minister and Head of board of leading political party Jauna Vienotiba (New Unity) Kri...
Associated Press

Latvian premier’s party emerges on top in general election

HELSINKI (AP) — Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’ ruling center-right party won the most votes in Latvia’s general election, centrist parties were runners-up and pro-Moscow parties crashed in a vote that was shaped by neighboring Russia’s war in Ukraine and divisions among the Baltic country’s sizable ethnic Russian minority. With more than 97% of the votes […]
3 hours ago
Ukrainian servicemen drive a tank on the way to Siversk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Oct. 1,...
Associated Press

Ukraine presses counteroffensive after Russian setback

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia attacked the Ukrainian president’s hometown with suicide drones on Sunday, and Ukraine pushed ahead with its counteroffensive after taking back control of a strategic eastern city. Russia’s loss of Lyman, which it had been using as a transport and logistics hub, is a new blow to the Kremlin as it […]
3 hours ago
Buddhist monks perform rituals during the funeral of famed American extreme skier Hilaree Nelson in...
Associated Press

Famed US extreme skier gets traditional Nepalese funeral

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A famed extreme skier from the United States who was killed after falling from one of the world’s tallest mountains was on Sunday given a traditional funeral at a Sherpa cremation ground as Buddhist monks officiated over a ceremony attended by family, friends and government officials. Hilaree Nelson, 49, fell off […]
3 hours ago
Pasika Bagerimana stands outside a temporary shelter she shares with others who fled fighting, in N...
Associated Press

Rebel violence in eastern Congo causes hunger to soar

NYIRAGONGO, Congo (AP) — The last thing Pasika Bagerimana remembers before her sons died were their cries of hunger. But the 25-year-old mother had nothing to feed them. “‘Mom, I need to eat. Can you give me food?'” they pleaded with her. Daniel, 2, and Bonane, 5, died just weeks apart in July after fleeing […]
3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Judge: Vegas man’s vote fraud claim ‘cheap political stunt’