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Nevada Republicans testify before grand jury on ‘fake elector’ scheme

Nevada Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald and Republican National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid were granted immunity to testify in Washington, D.C., before a grand jury, a source close to the case told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The two Nevada Republicans testified on June 13 to go over the events that occurred after the election, including what has been dubbed the “fake elector” scheme, the source said. The grand jury is part of a Department of Justice investigation, overseen by special counsel Jack Smith, into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, the Nevada Republicans were given “statutory immunity” to testify, meaning what they said in their testimony cannot be used against them.

The federal government can ask a judge to give statutory immunity so a witness can no longer assert the Fifth Amendment, forcing the witness to tell the truth, the source said.

Neither McDonald nor DeGraffenreid returned requests for comment.

McDonald and DeGraffenreid were two of the six Republican Party electors who signed fake electoral certificates declaring Donald Trump the winner of Nevada in 2020, despite his losing the Silver State to Joe Biden by about 30,000 votes.

The six Republicans signed the certificates outside the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, although that same day the real electors met in a remote ceremony alongside then-Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to certify the election results for Biden.

The fake electoral certificates were sent to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., with McDonald’s name as the return address.

Nevada was one of several battleground states where Biden won in which Republicans sent fake certificates in hopes of overturning the election results.

The source close to the case told the Review-Journal that the special counsel’s questions were “fairly thorough” and went through all that occurred after the election, focusing on the alternate elector scheme.

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Trump campaign attorney Jesse Binnall also were discussed in the testimony in regard to post-election litigation, which alleged that people voted who should not have voted, the source said.

Laxalt, who co-chaired Trump’s re-election campaign in Nevada, spoke at a news conference in November 2020 announcing a lawsuit filed by two Republican congressional campaigns in the federal district court in Las Vegas asking for emergency injunctive relief to stop Clark County’s electronic mail ballot counting machine.

“We firmly believe that there are many voters in this group of mail-in voters that are not proper voters,” Laxalt said at the Trump news conference outside the Clark County Election Department vote center in North Las Vegas. “We have received reports of many irregularities across the valley.”

Robert Uithoven, a spokesman for Laxalt, said in a statement to the Review-Journal on Friday that Laxalt has never been contacted by the special counsel. Binnall did not return requests for comment.

McDonald and DeGraffenreid testified previously before the House committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, although they invoked their Fifth Amendment protection and declined to answer nearly all the questions.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on Twitter.

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