Last night, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Republican attorney general and gubernatorial nominee Adam Laxalt closed an investigation into his political ally, alleged rapist and admitted sexual harasser Gerald Antinoro, and declined to pursue criminal charges. Laxalt also quietly deleted the webpage touting Antinoro’s endorsement from his campaign website, then issued a terse statement claiming he will not recognize Antinoro’s endorsement nor campaign with him.
For weeks, Laxalt refused to answer questions about Antinoro’s endorsement, even walking away from a voter who attempted to talk to him. When he was finally pressed on camera by KLAS and couldn’t run away from the question, Laxalt still refused to denounce Antinoro, dismissing criticism as “political theatrics.”
Just over a month ago, Laxalt and his former top deputy, attorney general candidate Wes Duncan, were scheduled to campaign with Antinoro in Storey County, where Antinoro serves as sheriff. Duncan, who was also endorsed by Antinoro, scrubbed the sheriff’s endorsement from his own website without announcing it sometime last month, as The Nevada Independent reported late last week.
Laxalt’s office failed to investigate Antinoro for years, until political pressure mounted from outraged Nevadans demanding answers as to why Laxalt and Duncan continued to protect a predator. Laxalt and Duncan both accepted and touted Antinoro’s endorsement despite the fact that his shocking record of misconduct has been public knowledge since at least 2016, when citizens successfully petitioned to recall him over his demonstrated pattern of sexual predation and unethical conduct, including findings from an independent investigation that concluded he sexually harassed his employee and reports of “numerous….more than 10” acts of misconduct against subordinates.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokeswoman Helen Kalla released the following statement:
“If Adam Laxalt thinks he can shove this scandal under the rug, he’s sorely mistaken. Simply put, Laxalt is only distancing himself from Sheriff Antinoro because Nevada women used their voices to speak out against Laxalt’s shameful and disgusting protection of a serial sexual predator. If Laxalt were truly concerned with seeking justice for victims, he would have investigated Antinoro in 2016 when an independent probe found that the sheriff sexually harassed his female deputy, not two years later when his friendship with Antinoro became a political liability. By letting his buddy Antinoro off the hook once again, Laxalt is sending a message to women across Nevada that he values his own political career over their safety.”