Billionaire’s plea deal benefits groups with ties to DA and defense attorney

go wolfie go
District Attorney Steve Wolfson appearing in a campaign ad for Marsy's Law last year.
go wolfie go
District Attorney Steve Wolfson appearing in a campaign ad for Marsy’s Law last year.

Two of the three non-profits sharing a $1 million dollar donation that helped keep billionaire Marcy’s Law backer Henry Nicholas and his friend, Ashley Fargo out of prison, have ties to the Clark County District Attorney’s office and Nicholas’ defense attorney David Chesnoff. 

According to the Guilty Plea Agreement filed in the case, the recipients of the donations “must be of the Defendant’s choosing and approved by the State…”

“This was a unique case.  From what I was told, the judge couldn’t even approve the places that received the donation,” an assistant in Judge Jacqueline Bluth’s office told the Current.

Bluth did not respond to requests for comment.

Fargo and Nicholas were arrested at the Encore in Las Vegas in August 2018 when hotel personnel discovered a large assortment of controlled substances in their suite. 

The Boys and Girls Club of Southern Nevada will receive a third of the $1 million donation.  Chesnoff, who negotiated the agreement on behalf of Nicholas, is a member of the board of directors. 

The Pact Coalition will also receive a third of the $1 million donation negotiated on behalf of the state by District Attorney Steve Wolfson.  His deputy district attorney Elizabeth Mercer sits on the organization’s board of directors. 

Mercer and her husband, former Metro Vice Detective Christopher Baughman, are alleged to have coerced witnesses who testified against convicted felon Ocean Fleming in 2012.   Their alleged actions prompted Wolfson to disqualify his office from Fleming’s retrial, which was headed up by special prosecutor Adam Gill. 

Chesnoff and Wolfson did not respond to the Current’s questions about how the recipients of the donation were chosen. 

Dana Gentry
Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana is the mother of four adult children, three cats, three dogs and a cockatoo.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I see my post was deleted. Mercer is not an assistant DA which is a second in command and involved in administration. She’s a deputy district attorney and not involved in administration. Thus, she would be unable to direct office policy nor was she involved in this deal. This is just a petty shot at her.

    • Hi Jordan,
      There was no suggestion that Mercer made the decision. Thanks for your comment. I will correct her title in the story.

  2. Another thing which should always come up when talking about misconduct at the DA’s office is Sevier v. State, docket number 74542. That’s the case where the Supreme Court reversed a conviction because Elizabeth Mercer, the same DA mentioned in this story, “flagrantly misled a jury” by making “egregious and manifestly improper” statements during closing. They also took the incredibly unusual step of referring Mercer to the Bar for investigation.

    I just think that the DA’s office is terrible and people need to know that!

  3. 2 years for NHP 113 mph guy that killed four in I 15 crash – wolfeson defense attorney got a good plea bargain there too. That helped him get law enforcement support. On his way to higher office . Money and media and court house deals. Good way to climb the political ladder

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