Nevada’s lieutenant governor asked a judge on Monday to disqualify the state attorney general, who’s prosecuting him on charges of mishandling a big college savings program, and to dismiss the charges.
Lawyers for Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki contend Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto provided legal counsel to him on the college savings program and now is prosecuting him for relying on that legal counsel.
“This prosecution is, therefore, an abomination of due process and the ethical duty of a prosecutor to seek justice,” attorney Richard Wright said in a brief filed in Clark County District Court.
Masto contends that what Krolicki’s lawyers see as a conflict for her is something that courts have allowed for attorneys general across the nation.
Wright maintains that several current and former deputy attorneys general provided Krolicki with legal advice regarding the college savings program when he was serving as state treasurer and overseeing the program, and Krolicki relied on their advice.
A similar argument was made on behalf of Krolicki’s chief of staff, Kathryn Besser, who also served as chief of staff when he served two terms as treasurer before being elected lieutenant governor in 2006.
Krolicki is charged with two felony counts of misappropriation and falsification of accounts by a public officer and two felony counts of misappropriation by a treasurer.
Besser is charged being a principal to misappropriation and falsification of accounts and being a principal to misappropriation by a treasurer.
The charges arose from a 2007 audit of a more than $3 billion, state-run college savings program.
Auditors found Krolicki skirted budget controls and spent more on an advertising campaign than allotted by the Legislature. No money is missing, and he is not accused of embezzlement.