FBI seizes Nevada GOP chairman’s phone as part of fake elector probe

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — FBI agents served a search warrant Wednesday on Nevada’s top GOP official, sources told KLAS.

Agents seized the cell phone of state Republican chairman Michael McDonald reportedly as part of an investigation into an alleged fake elector scheme initiated at the end of the 2020 presidential election.

In December 2020, KLAS reported that the Nevada Republican Party’s six electors signed paperwork signaling their support for former President Donald Trump in a symbolic ceremony devoid of any legal merit, which was held in Carson City and coincided with the official state-sanctioned tally on Dec. 14, 2020.

A second search warrant was issued for state party secretary James DeGraffenreid, who also signed the document, but FBI agents could not locate him Wednesday, sources told KLAS.

The state’s real election certification versus the one sent in by the Nevada Republican Party. (KLAS)

President Joe Biden won the presidential race in Nevada by more than 2%. He received the state’s six electoral votes in the official state ceremony, overseen by Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.

A video of the GOP event has since been deleted. In January, KLAS received a copy of the fake certificates, which attempted to certify the state’s electoral votes to Trump.

The certificate received by the National Archives looks much different than the official state-sealed one and reads, “We, the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified electors for president and vice president of the United States of America from the State of Nevada, do hereby certify six electoral votes for Trump.”

In a statement after the event, Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald said the party’s electors convened in Carson City due to ongoing legal battles seeking to overturn the election results. Nevada Republicans lost all court cases involving allegations of voter fraud.

McDonald’s attorney, Richard Wright, was unavailable Wednesday. Defense attorney George Kelesis told KLAS he had “no comment about the FBI.”

The subpoenas, issued in late January, said in part, “… We are seeking information about your role and participation in the purported slate of electors casting votes for Donald Trump and, to the extent relevant, your role in the events of January 6, 2021.”

FILE – In this June 23, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, is greeted by Nevada State GOP Chairman Michael McDonald as he arrives at the podium to speak during the Nevada Republican Party Convention at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/L.E. Baskow, File)

The Jan. 6 committee said in its hearing Tuesday that part of its focus was on the fake elector scheme.

The Nevada GOP did not immediately return a request for comment. The party has not responded to any request for comment regarding the electors.

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