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Prosecutor plans to refile case against Nye commissioner

A prosecutor who moved to dismiss the case of alleged domestic battery against controversial Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo said Friday he plans to refile the felony charges later for another chance to secure witnesses.

Esmeralda County District Attorney Robert Glennen III, serving as a special prosecutor in the criminal proceedings, said a judge in Pahrump agreed on Wednesday to sign his motion to dismiss the charges without prejudice, meaning the case could be resubmitted.

Glennen said he would revive the case once witnesses respond to his subpoenas to testify.

“We had troubles subpoenaing witnesses,” said Glennen, who is based in Goldfield. “The subpoenas were not secured.”

He formally requested three potential witnesses to answer questions in court, but they did not appear, he said.

Those witnesses included Blundo’s wife, Melissa, and two Nye County Sheriff’s deputies, he added.

Blundo has yet to be arraigned on the charges, which include felony domestic violence involving the alleged strangulation of his wife, he said.

Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia, who is legal adviser for the county commission, would have a conflict of interest if he prosecuted Blundo, Glennen said.

Blundo, who has objected to how he has been treated by his political opponents and the news media, said in a statement Friday that he would “have no comment at this time.”

The criminal case started on March 28, when Nye County deputies answered Blundo’s call about the theft of $77,000 and his Glock handgun from his residence. Deputies then heard from Melissa Blundo, who claimed that her husband, enraged about the missing money, put his hands to her throat and held her on the ground.

In June, Blundo ran for the Republican Party nomination in a bid for re-election but lost. His term as a commissioner comes to a close at the end of the year.

He has been a source of much political wrangling and clashes with public officials in Nye County since his election in 2018.

During the COVID pandemic, the Pahrump businessman was accused by Arabia’s office of misconduct in his official duties in voting for financial relief to benefit his restaurant, but the Nevada Attorney General’s office opted not to press the case.

In a related development Friday, Arabia issued a prepared statement requesting “outside agency assistance” for new investigations into Blundo.

Arabia said he wanted the attorney general’s office to resume its review of evidence in the COVID financial relief matter and for the state’s investigation division “to look into possible improper handling of evidence relating” to the domestic battery allegations.

The district attorney also alleged that the sheriff’s office “falsely stated on April 28 that they had referred the report and evidence” about the domestic battery incident against Blundo to Arabia’s office.

In response, Capt. David Boruchowtiz of the sheriff’s office issued a statement.

“Our comment is simply that his public assertion is not accurate, and is clearly intended to inflame emotion,” Boruchowtiz said.

“The fact of the matter is the case was routed to the DA’s office when we said it was, however, as you can imagine in government there is a several day process that occurs for routing purposes,” he added. “Mr. Arabia is exploiting the customary lag time for cases to reach his office.”

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter.

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