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Krolicki case to remain in Clark County

Updated Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009 | 3:53 p.m.

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Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki

If the criminal case against Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki goes to trial, the jury will be selected from Clark County.

District Court Judge Valerie Adair denied a motion today from Krolicki’s attorneys, Richard Wright and Margaret Stanish, to change the venue to Carson City or Washoe County.

The alleged crimes took place in Carson City or Washoe County while Krolicki served as state treasurer, wrote Margaret Stanish in her motion to change the venue. Holding the trial in Clark County “appears to be an attempt to gain some unfair advantage,” she wrote.

Adair issued a written decision stating that the state attorney general has established venue in Clark County “by slight or marginal evidence.”

“The State established that the effects of the alleged offenses had a sufficient nexus to Clark County so that the Clark County Grand Jury had jurisdiction to return an indictment,” Adair wrote.

Adair is the second Clark County judge to deny the motion.

Judge Elissa Cadish denied a similar motion but had to recuse herself from the case citing a conflict of interest. She previously had been a law partner with Scott Scherer, who assisted Krolicki during the early investigation in 2007.

Cadish also ruled state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and her office have a conflict of interest and can’t prosecute Krolicki.

The two sides agreed to void that protest on Aug. 20 but Stanish said it still remains an issue that could be raised again.

State-earned fees from the contributions of Clark County residents allowed Krolicki to market the program beyond what he was allowed to do, said Chief Deputy Attorney General Conrad Hafen.

“The majority of Nevada residents that participated in the college savings program resided in Clark County,” he said. “We believe she (Adair) followed case law in that the venue to prosecute in this case lies in Clark County.”

Krolicki and his top aide, Kathryn Besser, have each pleaded not guilty to two counts of misappropriation and falsification of accounts by a public officer and two counts of misappropriation by a treasurer. The four felony counts each carry a possible sentence of up to four years in prison.

The charges arose from a 2007 audit of a more than $3 billion, state-run college savings program that found Krolicki spent more on an advertising campaign than allotted by the Legislature.

Prosecutors claim money was transferred to the treasurer’s accounts at a bank in Las Vegas and that a significant portion of the funds were misspent on advertising in Clark County.

Officials said no money was missing and neither defendant was accused of embezzlement.

The trial is scheduled to start on Oct. 12.

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