A letter from Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s office reveals previously-unknown details about the timeline regarding Laxalt and his former deputy Wes Duncan’s embrace of Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro, who’s been accused of rape and has admitted to sexually harassing his employees, and what exactly Laxalt knew when he accepted Antinoro’s endorsement in November 2017. Laxalt is the Republican nominee for governor, and Duncan is the Republican nominee for attorney general.
The letter, dated October 17, 2018, is addressed to the attorney representing one of Antinoro’s former female deputies who is currently suing Antinoro in federal and district court over sexual harassment. In the letter, the attorney general’s office admits that it met with the former deputy at her request in early 2016, at which time the deputy shared details of Antinoro’s history of sexually harassing employees, including herself.
Yet despite his office knowing of credible sexual harassment allegations in early 2016, Laxalt and Duncan still accepted Antinoro’s endorsement over a year later and continued to stand by him until just three months ago. Take a look at the timeline of Laxalt and Duncan’s support for a man they knew to be a sexual predator, according to credible allegations brought to his office:
- For months, beginning in the spring of 2018, Laxalt refused to answer questions about Antinoro’s endorsement, even walking away from a voter who attempted to talk to him.
- In May, Laxalt and Duncan were scheduled to attend a political barbecue with Antinoro as the emcee. Antinoro backed out after media and public attention.
- When he was finally pressed on camera about his support for the sheriff in late May by KLAS and couldn’t run away from the question, Laxalt still refused to denounce Antinoro, dismissing criticism as “political theatrics.”
- Laxalt’s office failed to investigate Antinoro until political pressure mounted from outraged Nevadans demanding answers as to why Laxalt continued to protect a predator.
- In July, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Laxalt closed an investigation into Antinoro and declined to pursue criminal charges. More details about Laxalt’s sham “investigation” can be found here.
- Laxalt then 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. At the same time, Duncan also quietly removed Antinoro’s name from his website.
An independent investigation into the former deputy’s complaint found in 2016 that Antinoro did violate sexual harassment laws, behavior Antinoro admitted to in a deposition. In another deposition, a Storey County official said “numerous….more than 10” complaints had been filed against Antinoro since he took office in 2010. Antinoro has also been accused of a rape according to a 2014 police report, and the FBI and California law enforcement agencies are investigating allegations made in a deposition by a Nevada woman who said Antinoro brought her to Lodi, California and arranged for her to be gang raped.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokeswoman Helen Kalla released the following statement:
“This letter completely obliterates any doubt among Nevadans that Adam Laxalt cares more about protecting his political allies than protecting women. Nevadans now have proof that Laxalt was told of Sheriff Antinoro’s predatory behavior against women by one of his accusers and Laxalt still stood by his buddy until he ran out of dodges and excuses. Laxalt’s unwavering loyalty to a sexual predator is nothing short of disgusting, and no amount of desperate pandering on Laxalt’s part will convince Nevada women that he deserves their vote.”