Billionaire, friend avoid jail time with $1 million donation plea deal

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A judge signed off on a plea deal Wednesday, allowing billionaire Henry Nicholas and his friend to pay $1 million and avoid prison time in a drug case.

Nicholas and co-defendant Ashley Fargo entered so-called “Alford pleas” to two felony drug possession charges. Through an Alford plea, a defendant does not to admit guilt, but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict them.

Key points of the agreement include no jail time, they must stay out of trouble with the law, perform 250 hours of community service, and complete one year of drug counseling.

Clark County District Court Judge Jacqueline Bluth approved the deal after asking for an explanation. Prosecutor Brad Turner said it may have been difficult to prove the drugs belonged to Nicholas and Fargo. Chesnoff pointed to a lack of forensic evidence like fingerprints.

Police reported finding heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and psychedelic substances in travel cases in their hotel room in August 2018.

Defense attorney David Chesnoff says they have contributed the funds to Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, PACT Coalition, and Foundation for Recovery.

Andy Bischel, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, said in an email to the I-Team, “The recent charitable contribution will assist scores of young people through drug education and prevention programming while helping to disrupt the cycle of drug abuse in our community.”

Nicholas is 59 and co-founded Broadcom. Forbes estimates his net worth at almost $4 billion. He was arrested on federal drug charges in 2008. The charges were dropped. Nicholas is also the driving force behind Marsy’s Law, a push for constitutional rights for crime victims. It passed in Nevada with the support of Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson in 2018.

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