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John L Smith: Another Week, Another Failed Election Lawsuit

Supporters of President Donald Trump pray as they protest the election outside of the Clark County Election Department, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in North Las Vegas.
(AP Photo/John Locher)

Supporters of President Donald Trump pray as they protest the election outside of the Clark County Election Department, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in North Las Vegas.

The Nevada Republican Party lost another lawsuit Friday when a judge in Carson City dismissed litigation aimed at overturning the Nov. 3 election. 

President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 33,000 votes. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske submitted official results from 17 counties, the state Supreme Court unanimously accepted those results and Governor Steve Sisolak signed off on the election. 

KNPR contributor John L. Smith has been following this story from the start, which he said actually began when President Donald Trump was on the campaign trail and told his supporters then that Democrats would try to steal the election. 

When the election didn't go his way, the lawsuits started coming.

“Essentially, the state Republican Party, with outside actors coming in to litigate, has worked overtime to sprinkle the legal infield with litigation all of which has been consistent – it has all been thrown out,” Smith said.

In his opinion, Judge James Russell distinguished himself from other judges with the forcefulness of argument, Smtih said.

“Judge Russell was really emphatic,” Smith said of the judge's 35-page response to the lawsuit.

The judge gave the Trump campaign wide latitude when it came to presenting evidence. They presented depositions from 15 people who had claimed to be eyewitnesses to fraud, but the judge found their testimony was hearsay.

Other allegations in the lawsuit were that thousands of voters from out of state illegally voted in Nevada, that a Native American get-out-the-vote effort was underhanded, and that deceased people had voted. 

“[Judge Russell] basically took it apart piece by piece. He dismissed this challenge with prejudice, and of course, the GOP is going to take it to the supreme court of our state,” Smith said.

Smith said the strength of Russell's writing in the opinion is "compelling" and shows "the emperor has no clothes.

While lawsuit after lawsuit has been thrown out across the country, Smith noted that the president and his supporters are still raising money for his legal defense.

The Trump campaign says it has raised $200 million.  

Smith said the Nevada GOP is also using the false idea of "stopping the steal" to raise money.

“They’re essentially misleading their followers into thinking that they were robbed, and in truth, after Russell threw out the case, the first response was: ‘Our evidence was good and there is something else wrong,’" he said.

There are concerns among a lot of people that the continued false narrative about widespread voter fraud and a 'stolen election' will have long-term consequences for the country. 

Smith said both Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who is Republican, and Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria did an excellent job during the election and have withstood a lot of criticism from Republicans after it. 

“You’ve got people doing their jobs and to have them smeared and to have the whole process smeared because it didn’t go your way – it has to be hurtful,” he said.

New Information about the death of Tony Hsieh

A recent article in Forbes paints a tragic picture of the last days of retired Zappos CEO and Downtown Project founder Tony Hsieh.

The singer Jewel shared with the magazine a letter she sent to Hsieh before his death in November. In the letter, she expressed her concern about his drug use and the people he had surrounded himself with, in Park City, Utah.

Smith calls the article "heart-wrenching." 

“It’s really sad and tragic when you see someone with such creativity also haunted by his own demons, as so many people are,” Smith said.

He pointed out that the story of Tony Hsieh is a reminder that someone can have so much in this life and still be lonely.

Smith is not sure the city will really grasp Hsieh's legacy until many more years have passed.

“If we pull back our lens a little, we look at the effect that developers and visionaries have had on the community it is not always in their short lifetime that you really see it and appreciate it,” he said.

Like the people who first built the Las Vegas Strip or those who developed neighborhoods in what were once the outskirts of town, the legacy of Hsieh and his Downtown Project will take years to really see and understand, Smith said. 

John L. Smith, KNPR Contributor 

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.