Las Vegas Sun

April 24, 2014

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Hafter appeals reprimand over comments during campaign

CARSON CITY — An appeal has been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by Las Vegas lawyer Jacob Hafter, who was issued a private reprimand for making a false statement when he ran for state attorney general in 2010.

Hafter, in his petition for a writ of certiorari, says the Nevada Supreme Court was wrong in ruling that his statements were not protected by the First Amendment.

He says there is not clear and convincing evidence that he made false statements.

During the campaign, Hafter said a complaint had been made to the State Bar of Nevada that Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto had violated attorney-client privilege by releasing correspondence between her office and the governor.

The Nevada Supreme Court said in its order in March that Hafter either intended to mislead in a press release or acted with reckless disregard for the truth.

No complaint had been filed against Masto. But Hafter said he was led to believe that a complaint had been lodged.

Besides the private reprimand, Hafter estimates he will have to pay $20,000 in costs to the bar.

In the 2010 election, Hafter lost the GOP nomination for attorney general to Travis Barrick, who was defeated in the general election by Masto.

Hafter was accused of violating the code that says it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

The issue centered on the dispute between former Gov. Jim Gibbons and Masto over her refusing to join in a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law.

Correspondence between the two sides was released, and Hafter maintained Masto violated the rules by making public documents in correspondence between the two sides.

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