Nevada election-fraud crusader drops US lawsuit under threat of sanctions; presses on in state court
RENO, Nev. (AP) — An election-fraud crusader in Nevada withdrew his latest federal lawsuit in an ongoing feud with county officials in Reno after their lawyers threatened to seek sanctions for filing a baseless complaint laced with “rantings of a conspiracy theorist.”
But Robert Beadles, a wealthy ex-California businessman and right-wing activist who has embraced many Republicans’ disproven claims of election fraud, is vowing to continue his legal battle in state court. He has filed a new lawsuit in Washoe County District Court with similar allegations of fraud and other wrongdoing.
Beadles, who once briefly ran for Congress in California in 2010, made his money in construction, software, real estate and cryptocurrency investments. Now affiliated with the conservative blog Operation Sunlight, he has helped lead attempts to recall or otherwise oust numerous county officials since he moved to Reno from Lodi, Nevada, in 2019.
He claims the election system is rife with “flaws and irregularities” that robbed him of his vote in 2020. He lost another lawsuit last year that sought heightened observation of Washoe County’s vote-counting process.
Federal and state election officials and former President Donald Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the election was tainted. The former president’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts, including by judges Trump appointed.
The Reno Gazette Journal first reported this week that county lawyers sent Beadles letters warning of potential punitive action unless he dropped his lawsuit, which was moved to U.S. court last week because of related federal jurisdiction.
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks said in the letter to Beadles Tuesday provided to The Associated Press late Thursday that his lawsuit subjects him to sanctions because the sole purpose is to “harass and engage government entities and officials in costly frivolous litigation.”
Hicks attached a draft copy of a motion he said they’d file unless he withdrew it. It said that since moving to Reno, Beadles has “engaged in a scheme to disrupt local and state government operations.”
Beadles’ lawsuit “contains various baseless and delusory allegations disjointed from any viable legal claim,” Deputy District Attorney Lindsay Liddell wrote in the draft motion.
She described it as “inaccurate rantings of a conspiracy theorist disconnected from any legitimate claim.”
Beadles said in an email to AP Thursday night he never requested his case be moved to federal court so he filed notice of a voluntary dismissal on Aug. 9 — a day after he was threatened with the sanctions — and filed the new lawsuit in Washoe County District Court on Aug. 10.
“They put me in Federal Court. I didn’t cower; I took us back to State court, where the evidence and truth will speak for itself on an expedited timeline,” he wrote.
Like his earlier lawsuit, Beadles’ new one in Washoe District Court stated that he was “robbed of his right to suffrage” in the last election. He accuses the county of maintaining inaccurate voter rolls, an unsecure voting system and “counting votes in secret.”
Beadles submitted documents as exhibits attached to an earlier lawsuit in state court that he says are evidence of wrongdoing. County lawyers say the exhibits fail to substantiate similar claims that have been dismissed.
He wants the county to ban the use of voting machines and count paper ballots by hand. He’s also seeking the removal of a few county officials.
Last year, he accused county commissioners of “treason” when he confronted them with county statistics that he claimed proved there were 40,000 more votes cast than voters registered in 2020. He said the county appears to “have two sets of books.”
Election officials have explained that his data is inaccurate.
Beadles has been aligned in the past with another election-fraud crusader, Reno lawyer Joey Gilbert, who lost the 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary to now Gov. Joe Lombardo.
A judge in Carson City ordered Gilbert last year to pay $88,000 in sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit with no admissible evidence pressing his claims he really won the nomination. Gilbert finished second by 26,000 votes in the June primary but argued that he actually won by more than 50,000 votes.
This story has been updated to correct the the timing of Beadles’ lawsuit and warnings of sanctions against him for filing frivolous cases. It has also been updated to correct details of what he filed in connection with the case .
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