First Amendment covers county GOP chairman’s letter, district attorney says; senators call for investigation


'It’s 1776 all over again,’ Nye County GOP chairman says

Nye County Republican Party Chairman Chris Zimmerman said a letter posted Friday to members was not meant to imply sedition when he said President Donald Trump would remain in power for four more years. (KLAS)

PAHRUMP, Nev. — The Nye County district attorney said his office reviewed the county Republican Party chair’s widely circulated letter and determined it falls under First Amendment protection.

“Let me be clear: Trump will be president for another four years. Biden will not be president,” Nye County GOP Chairman Chris Zimmerman wrote Friday. “Yes, I know those are shocking words in these crazy days.”

The original letter included a long list of unfounded allegations of voter fraud. It also listed eight “milestones to watch for in the coming days.” They included a message from the president over the nationwide Emergency Alert System, arrests, “bombshell evidence,” an internet outage and President Trump’s inauguration.

“I’ve reviewed Mr. Zimmerman’s letter in light of the widespread concerns that it was a call to insurrection or violence,” District Attorney Chris Arabia said in a statement. Arabia is a registered Republican, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s election records.

“First, neither Chairman Zimmerman nor the committee speak for my office or the County government,” Arabia said. “That said, the letter does seem mostly to consist of predictions and commentary. In my opinion, it doesn’t incite the reader to engage in unlawful violence and as such, it falls under the protection of the First Amendment.”

Arabia added he nor the Nye County Sheriff’s Office are aware of any potential violence.

Late Monday, Nevada Democratic Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen called on the FBI to investigate Zimmerman’s original letter.

“As you can see, the letter, published January 8, 2021, denies basic facts about the 2020 election and falsely claims that President Trump – not President-elect Biden – will be inaugurated on January 20th,” the senators wrote in a joint statement. “The letter goes on to claim without evidence that there is a plot involving Vice President Mike Pence to overthrow President Trump, and refers readers to Lin Wood’s posts on Parler, where Mr. Wood recently called for Vice President Pence’s execution. The letter describes being in a ‘battle for our republic’ and ends by saying that ‘It’s 1776 all over again!’”

8 News Now reached out to Zimmerman and did not hear back.

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