(Chuck Muth) – If a sitting state senator trying to bribe a witness in a rape case – or even entrap her by lying about a bribe – isn’t an ethics violation, then there’s no reason whatsoever to even have an ethics law in Nevada. With that in mind, Citizen Outreach is filing the following complaint against state Sen. Dennis Nolan….
May 29, 2010
Nevada Commission on Ethics
3476 Executive Pointe Way, Suite 10
Carson City, NV 89706
To Whom It May Concern:
In July of 2008, Senator Dennis Nolan (NV State Senate) appeared in court as a character witness for a man accused of raping his teenage sister-in-law while his wife (the victim’s sister) was asleep upstairs. The man, Gordon Joseph Lawes, was convicted of rape and is currently serving a life sentence. Senator Nolan is currently working with Lawes’ attorney on the appeal.
On May 17th, 2010 Nolan’s political opponent, Elizabeth Halseth, began airing a radio ad in Las Vegas featuring Tim Andersen, the father of the rape victim. In the ad, Mr. Andersen criticizes Senator Nolan for testifying on Lawes’ behalf and asks “what kind of a person defends a child rapist who sexually assaults our kids?”
On May 19th, 2010 Dennis Nolan placed a call to Jamie Takemoto’s cell phone. Jamie is the sister of the victim and ex-wife of the rapist. Jamie did not answer the call, and Nolan left this message on her voicemail:
“Hey uh, Jamie it’s Dennis. Listen um, uh there’s a lot of people who have a uh… serious interest in uh… this campaign and what’s going on, and uh… I think that uh it could be very financially beneficial um for you to consider telling the truth. Um, give me a call a little later on and I will give you more details on that. I got some calls from some people who would uh really like to see this thing cleared up and uh have the uh… have the resources to back that up. So, give me a call. Bye Bye”
On May 26th, Jamie Takemoto gave the recording to the campaign of Elizabeth Halseth, Nolan’s primary opponent, who had been running Tim Andersen’s radio ad. Halseth published the recording on her campaign website and alerted the media to its content.
On May 27th, 2010, the Las Vegas Review Journal ran a story about the recorded voicemail and quoted Dennis Nolan saying he did not intend to bribe Jamie Takemoto, but instead wanted to trick her in to meeting with him and during that meeting he planned to wear “a wire” to record their conversation. Nolan said he believed Jamie would say the sex between her ex-husband and her sister was consensual rather than rape.
We believe Sen. Nolan’s actions in this matter are a violation of Section 2 of NRS 281.A.400 in that he attempted to use his position in government to secure an unwarranted privilege and advantage by referencing his “campaign” in his apparent attempt to bribe Ms. Takemoto with “financially beneficial” inducements provided by campaign supporters with “the resources to back that up.”
Whether Sen. Nolan was trying to bribe Ms. Takemoto or entrap her, using his position in office to do so is, in our opinion, an egregious violation of both the letter and spirit of the law and we urge the Commission take the strongest possible disciplinary action available against Sen. Nolan should your investigation determine that he abused his privileges and the public trust in this matter.
No word yet on whether Sen. Nolan will be calling either the rapist or the Nevada Republican Party to testify on his behalf as character witnesses.