I-Team: Billionaire’s plea deal prompts call for investigation

I-Team Special Reports

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — State Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo is calling for an investigation into why the Clark County District Attorney would sign off on a plea deal for a billionaire facing felony drug charges.

Billionaire Henry Nicholas and his friend Ashley Fargo could avoid prison time if a plea deal moves forward.

According to court documents, they would donate $1 million to an organization of their choosing, attend substance abuse counseling twice a month for a year, complete 250 hours of community service and stay out trouble, along with informal probation for one year.

Fumo, a Las Vegas Democrat who represents District 21, is also a criminal defense attorney. He sat down with the I-Team’s Vanessa Murphy.

Murphy: You’ve been a criminal defense attorney for how long?

Fumo: The last 25 years.

Murphy: Have you ever seen a plea deal like this?

Fumo: Never. I’m shocked. This man was charged with high level trafficking which is life in prison.

Nicholas and Fargo were arrested in August 2018 after Metro police say they found drugs in their Encore hotel room including:

  • 82.505 grams of MDMA, also known as ecstasy
  • 4.24 grams of heroin
  • 15.13 grams of cocaine
  • 13.44 grams of meth,
  • 17.109 grams of Psilocin (the substance found in mushrooms)
  • And Ethylone and Dimethytryptamine (but the amount was not specified)

They faced seven charges, five for drug trafficking and two for drug possession.

Through the deal, they’re expected to plead guilty to only two counts and the case would be dismissed if they complete the requirements.

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“Money talks and it’s reprehensible that in Clark County, that we would let this happen,” Fumo said. “I know nobody that’s poor has received a negotation like this.”

Nicholas is a co-founder of Broadcom.

He was arrested on federal drug charges in 2008. Those were dropped, too.

He is the driving force behind Marsy’s Law — a push for constitutional rights for crime victims.

Known as Question One, it passed overwhelmingly in Nevada and was supported by Clark County DA Wolfson.

The I-Team reached out for a comment about the proposed plea deal, but Wolfson declined to comment until the defendants enter their pleas in district court.

Attorneys for Nicholas and Fargo released this statement on Thursday: “We are pleased to reach an equitable resolution of this matter. By no stretch of the imagination would anyone consider Dr. Nicholas or Ms. Fargo to be traffickers distributing drugs into the community. This positive agreement allows them to help people grappling with addiction by providing substantial financial support to programs in Clark County for treatment and rehabilitation, which have been shown to be an effective tool for combating addiction. Dr. Nicholas and Ms. Fargo are committed to fulfilling their obligations under the agreement and moving forward. Dr. Nicholas will continue to focus on his work championing victims’ rights.”

Nicholas is represented by David Z. Chesnoff and Richard A. Schonfeld. Fargo is represented by David T. Brown.

“Something like this just reeks of corruption to me,” Fumo said.

Nicholas and Fargo are expected to enter their plea deal in court on Aug. 9.

A district court judge still has to approve the deal, but usually a judge would sign off on this.

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