Here is some of the legal news making the headlines this week:
A Nevada grand jury indicted six pro-Trump Republicans in a fake elector scheme.
- Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford brought two felony charges against Michael McDonald, Jesse Law, Jim DeGraffenreid, Durward James Hindle III, Shawn Meehan, and Eileen Rice accusing them of offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument.
- In a press release announcing the charges, Attorney General Ford said, “We cannot allow attacks on democracy to go unchallenged. Today’s indictments are the product of a long and thorough investigation, and as we pursue this prosecution, I am confident that our judicial system will see justice done.”
- There are 7 states alleged to be involved in the fake elector scheme. Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney and Michigan’s state Attorney General have already brought charges against other groups of fake electors, while Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are still investigating.
The Colorado Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a 14th Amendment case that seeks to keep Donald Trump off the state’s ballot.
- In September, a group of six Republican and unaffiliated voters sued Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold, and Donald Trump on the basis of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment which bans insurrectionists from running for office.
- The provision, in relevant parts, states: “No person shall .. hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath …as an officer of the United States… to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
- The suit claims, “Trump is disqualified because: (1) he took an “oath … as an officer of the United States … to support the Constitution of the United States” on January 20, 2017; (2) the January 6, 2021 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol and the preceding mob mobilization and incitement constituted an “insurrection” against the Constitution of the United States; and (3) Trump “engaged in” that insurrection.”
- The state trial court judge Sarah Wallace found that Trump did engage in an insurrection, but decided not to remove him from the ballot because she was unpersuaded that Section 3 applied to the presidency, reasoning that the president is not an “officer of the United States.”
- The decision was appealed and, on Wednesday, the Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments on the different interpretations of Section 3, how its ruling could affect Colorado voters, and whether Trump engaged in an insurrection.
- The case is expected to reach the US Supreme Court.
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