A special prosecutor just named by embattled Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett has announced criminal charges against a sheriff's detective accused of waging a campaign of retribution against Beckett and two other political candidates.
Las Vegas attorney C. Conrad Claus unveiled the charges Thursday during a news conference on the steps of the Clark County Regional Justice Center.
The 25-count criminal complaint against Detective David Boruchowitz was filed Thursday afternoon with Pahrump Justice Court.
The move comes two weeks after Boruchowitz helped arrest Beckett, who was booked May 5 on more than 40 counts including embezzlement.
The four-term district attorney has yet to be formally charged.
It's unclear what might happen with the criminal complaint against Boruchowitz.
Nye County Manager Richard Osborne said officials are drafting a request to have a district judge appoint an independent prosecutor to review the case against Beckett.
Until then, Osborne said, the county has no intention of recognizing the authority of Claus or any other special prosecutor the district attorney might name.
Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo called the allegations against the detective "ridiculous" and said Beckett is the one who is abusing his office.
DeMeo accused the district attorney of using "the tactics street thugs use."
"Mr. Beckett is doing what we see suspects do all the time. He's trying to deflect attention away from himself," the sheriff said. "Mr. Beckett is acting like a true suspect."
Claus is the second special prosecutor Beckett has named since his arrest to investigate allegations of political corruption in the sheriff's office.
Beckett showed up before Thursday's news conference but left shortly after it began and never faced the cameras or answered questions.
He did not respond to repeated phone calls seeking comment.
Claus outlined the case against Boruchowitz, whom he described as a rogue cop who abused his authority by smearing and harassing Beckett and two candidates running against the incumbent sheriff.
In the criminal complaint, Boruchowitz is accused of lying to obtain a search warrant that led to the arrest of sheriff's candidate Ted Holmes, who was booked March 12 for impersonating a police officer but has yet to be formally charged.
The complaint also charges Boruchowitz in an April 17 incident in which he and other officers are accused of kicking in the door of a Pahrump apartment without probable cause and illegally searching a group of teenagers at a party, including the daughter of sheriff's candidate and Nevada Highway Patrol officer Scott Cobel.
Then there is what Claus called the "false arrest" of Beckett. According to the complaint, the investigation of the district attorney was based on a search warrant Boruchowitz requested using information he knew to be false.
Claus said Boruchowitz is "looking at the rest of his life in prison" if he is convicted on all the charges.
Messages left for the detective were not returned Thursday, but he remains on the job.
DeMeo offered a two-word response when asked if Boruchowitz would be placed on any sort of leave while the charges play out: "Hell no."
"I'm not taking a detective off any cases when he's doing his job. We have no proof he's done anything wrong," the sheriff said.
Early voting for the primary election starts Saturday in Nye County, and both Beckett and DeMeo face challenges.
Though it looks like the county's two chief law enforcement officers are engaged in open warfare with each other, DeMeo insisted it's "business as usual" when it comes to the day-to-day contact between the two offices.
"The deputy district attorneys are doing their jobs," DeMeo said.
Claus said the criminal complaint against Boruchowitz is the result of an investigation he started about a week ago, and he hinted that additional charges might be filed against the detective and others.
The attorney said Beckett picked him as special prosecutor -- an appointment announced for the first time Thursday -- because of his experience, first as a Clark County prosecutor and now as a private attorney who has defended police officers targeted by internal affairs investigations.
Claus, who runs his legal practice under the motto "Law is War," said the other reason Beckett picked him is because he is independent and has no interest in Nye County politics.
Asked what he knows about the seven-candidate contest for district attorney, Claus said he has "a sense that there's a nasty race going on."
But some have accused Claus himself of contributing to that nastiness.
Late last month, the attorney held a news conference at the Nye County Courthouse in Pahrump to detail a harassment complaint and numerous other allegations against Ron Kent, a former Nye County prosecutor who is running for district attorney.
Beckett fired his friend and longtime chief deputy shortly after Kent announced his candidacy. Since then, the two men have offered different accounts of the timing and reasons for the firing.
All Claus would say Thursday is that he was asked to give the April 20 news conference at the request of a private individual he wouldn't name.
According to several historians and legal scholars, Beckett is the first district attorney in Nevada history to be arrested for a crime while in office.
On May 6, the day after he was booked and released on his own recognizance, Beckett announced the appointment of private attorney Leslie Stovall as a special prosecutor to "investigate charges of political corruption and abuse of power by public officials in Nye County."
DeMeo and others, including Judge John Davis, whose District Court serves Nye County, questioned the legality of the appointment.
On Thursday, a spokesman for Stovall's office said it is his understanding that Stovall will now serve as Beckett's defense attorney instead.
Contact reporter Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350.