Nevada elections department subpoenaed in Trump probe

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske attends the summer conference of the National...
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske attends the summer conference of the National Association of Secretaries of State in Baton Rouge, La., in July 8, 2022. Cegavske, the outgoing Nevada Secretary of State, was served a subpoena as part of a U.S. Department of Justice special counsel investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton, File)(Matthew Hinton | AP)
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 10:36 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada’s departing Secretary of State was served a subpoena last month as part of the U.S. Department of Justice special counsel’s investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results.

The subpoena required Barbara Cegavske to either appear in the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., on Dec. 9 or provide a litany of documents detailing communications with officials. Those documents mirrored the special counsel’s subpoenas in other key swing states.

Cegavske’s office opted to provide documents, of which there was only one, with officials who were not on the DOJ’s request list. In a statement Thursday evening, Cegavske’s office said that document was provided “out of an abundance of caution.”

Special counsel Jack Smith is overseeing the Justice Department investigation into the presence of classified documents at Trump’s Florida estate as well as key aspects of a separate probe involving the violent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and Trump’s efforts to remain in power.

It’s part of the first known round of subpoenas by Smith, who was named special counsel last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Officials in Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan and Arizona received subpoenas as well. Clark County, Nevada’s most populous county which includes Las Vegas, also received a subpoena.

Cegavske’s subpoena, obtained Thursday evening by The Associated Press through an open records request submitted this week, was dated Nov. 22, nearly two weeks after Nevada’s high-profile midterm races were some of the last in the nation to be called.

The DOJ requested identical documents from other key swing states and counties it subpoenaed.

Those included “any and all communications in any form” between June 1, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021, “to, from or involving” Trump, his campaign, lawyers and aides, including former campaign officials and lawyers such as Sidney Powell and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Cegavske’s office had no records detailing communication with any of the Trump campaign officials listed on the subpoena, but did provide one document anyway.

They submitted an October 2020 Zoom meeting invite between the office and Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald, who was one of several who signed certificates falsely stating that Trump won Nevada in 2020, as well as others who signed fake certificates or have sought to overturn or discredit elections in Nevada.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we included communications with the NVGOP and RNC in our search, and that was the only record found during the time frame in question,” spokesperson Jennifer Russell said in an email to the AP on Thursday.

All of the states the DOJ subpoenaed are key battlegrounds that Trump and his allies targeted as they tried to overturn the election.

Cegavske, who was not eligible for reelection after serving two terms, has been the only current statewide-elected Republican critic of voter-fraud conspiracy theories, and one of the most vocal. She has overseen elections in the state since 2014, and has repeatedly defended the results as reliable and accurate despite attacks from Trump and other Republicans — which led Nevada’s Republican party to censure her.

Her investigation found no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud throughout the state.

Trump took to his social media app last month to try and discredit this year’s midterm election results in Clark County, to which the county responded by saying Trump was “misinformed about the law and our election processes that ensure the integrity of elections in Clark County.”

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Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Follow Stern on Twitter: @gabestern326.