Gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt has decided to put some space between himself and a rural Nevada sheriff accused of sexual harassment and assault.
Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro had endorsed Laxalt, as the Republican nominee for governor, but Laxalt declined to discuss the case while his office investigated the charges.
Democrats have been hammering Laxalt for weeks over the Antinoro endorsement.
Their message: Laxalt should immediately reject the endorsement of a sheriff accused of everything from a harassing workplace environment all the way up to sexual assault.
Sheriff Antinoro has denied the charges and was even re-elected to a third term despite them.
During 8 News Now’s Republican candidate forum in late May, Laxalt was asked about the accusations but said he couldn’t talk about the case.
“I’m not going to do or say anything until that investigation is complete, and I think if I were to come out and endorse or un-endorse at this stage of the game it would either predict or prejudge the investigation,” Laxalt said.
That investigation against Sheriff Antinoro wrapped up last week. Laxalt’s office in a letter said it had reviewed hundreds of pages of documents and talked to four potential witnesses, some of whom denied anything inappropriate had occurred.
The attorney general’s office could not locate a fifth witness who was allegedly assaulted during a business trip in California, the letter said.
An attorney for two Storey County developers who had asked for the investigation called the results “far from complete, comprehensive or balanced.”
The Attorney General’s office defended its investigation and said the personal animus between the developers and the sheriff was at the heart of the dispute.
Laxalt’s campaign also took the opportunity this week to say he didn’t want to be associated with the sheriff, whether the charges were proven or not.
In a statement released by his campaign, Laxalt said:
“Now that the Attorney General’s office has concluded its investigation, the campaign can comment on the Storey County Sheriff. Adam will not be campaigning with Sheriff Antinoro, and he will not recognize or use his endorsement in any way. Sheriff Antinoro is a Nevada law enforcement officer and therefore must be held to a higher standard.”