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Man pleads guilty to committing election fraud under late wife’s name

A Las Vegas business executive pleaded guilty Tuesday to a voting fraud charge related to the 2020 election.

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 District Judge Carli Kierny he accepted full responsibility for his actions and regrets them.

According to a plea agreement filed Monday, Hartle has agreed to informal probation in exchange for adjudication to be postponed for a year.

He also has agreed to pay a $2,000 fine, court records show.

Hartle, 55, initially was charged in Las Vegas Justice Court with felony counts of voting more than once in the same election and voting using another person’s name.

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

Kierny made it clear that she was unhappy with the deal but accepted it.

“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, chief financial officer for companies owned by state Republican party finance chairman Donald Ahern, was accused of voting under the name of his late wife, Rosemarie Hartle, who died in 2017.

He could have faced up to eight years in prison if convicted of the two felonies.

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.

“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.”

Many Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, promoted unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election in Nevada.

The case of Rosemarie Hartle’s vote was highlighted by the Nevada Republican Party at the time.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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