Senate meets Friday to receive Augustine impeachment case | NevadaAppeal.com

Senate meets Friday to receive Augustine impeachment case

Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealNevada Controller Kathy Augustine refused to talk publicly Tuesday as lawmakers prepared to convene a special session to impeach her. The Senate will receive the articles of impeachment Friday, and meet 10 days later to consider removing her from office.

The Senate meets briefly Friday to receive three articles of impeachment charging Controller Kathy Augustine with blatantly using her staff and state office in her re-election campaign two years ago.

The Senate must officially receive the articles of impeachment to start the clock before her trial before that body. They are expected to give the defense 10 days to prepare.

In addition, the Senators must “advise and consent” to Gov. Kenny Guinn’s nomination to temporarily replace Augustine as controller. Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Lorne Malkiewich said the appointment is necessary because, once the articles are received by the Senate, Augustine can no longer sign checks and other documents authorizing the movement and spending of state funds.

When the Senate convenes to try Augustine in two weeks, Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, has said they will meet as a committee of the whole to hear evidence for and against Augustine.

Legal experts have said the Senate must provide the defense enough leeway to ensure Augustine’s federal rights are not restricted.

The Nevada Constitution requires a two-thirds majority — 14 of the 21 Senators — to remove a constitutional officer from office.

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The Assembly took a voice vote as a committee of the whole agreeing to calls for impeachment. After those articles were formally drafted, they voted on each of the three articles separately. The vote in each case was unanimous, after which each of the 42 members signed the document.

Augustine’s lawyers said she would have no direct comment but that they expect to disprove the charges in the Senate trial.

“When you look closely at the mountain of evidence, it becomes a molehill,” said John Arrascada.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at nevadaappeal@sbcglobal.net or 687-8750.