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Nevada judge dismisses charges against 6 Republicans who falsely declared Trump the winner in 2020

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A Nevada state court judge dismissed a criminal indictment Friday against six Republicans accused of submitting certificates to Congress falsely declaring former President Donald Trump the winner of the state's 2020 presidential election, a spokesperson for the Nevada attorney general confirmed to CBS News. 

"We disagree with the judge's decision and will be appealing immediately," the spokesperson said. 

The judge's ruling potentially kills the case, determining that state prosecutors chose the wrong venue to file.

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford stood in a Las Vegas courtroom a moment after Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus delivered her ruling, declaring that he will take the case directly to the state Supreme Court.

"The judge got it wrong and we'll be appealing immediately," Ford told reporters afterward. He declined any additional comment.

The judge called off trial, which had been scheduled in January, for defendants that included the Nevada GOP chairman and prominent party leaders from the Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe areas. Each was charged with offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument, felonies that carry penalties of up to four or five years in prison. 

Defense attorneys bluntly declared the case dead, saying that to bring the case now to another grand jury in another venue such as the state capital city of Carson City would violate a three-year statute of limitations on filing charges that expired in December.

"They're done," said Margaret McLetchie, attorney for Clark County Republican party chairman Jesse Law, one of the defendants in the case.

The defendants were indicted in December. Among those charged was Nevada GOP chairman Michael McDonald.

"We cannot allow attacks on democracy to go unchallenged," Ford said at the time of the indictment. "Today's indictments are the product of a long and thorough investigation, and as we pursue this prosecution, I am confident that our judicial system will see justice done."

Nevada is one of seven presidential battleground states where slates of fake electors falsely certified that Trump had won in 2020, not President Biden.

Others are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Nevada may be a battleground state yet again, and Trump campaigned there earlier this month. 

Criminal charges have been brought in Michigan, Georgia and Arizona.

— Robert Legare contributed to this report. 

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