Paul Nehlen, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s challenger in the Republican primary in 2016, may have been trying to hide something from the police in the Town of Delevan who were investigating a “selfie” he took when casting his ballot, a story reported by Fox 6 News in Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Taking a photo of your completed ballot is illegal in Wisconsin to prevent people from selling their votes. In the 2016 Republican Primary, Nehlen took a photo of his ballot and posted it on the internet, prompting a two-month investigation.
After obtaining a warrant for the phone and waiting six days for it to be delivered from Nehlen’s attorney, police discovered the sim card removed and a factory reset was done on the phone, deleting everything.
The police report says Nehlen had initially promised to cooperate fully with the investigating officer but Nehlen had to talk to his attorney first. Once Nehlen’s attorney Thomas Grieve became involved, Nehlen’s promised cooperation with the police never happened. Nehlen declined to answer through his attorney whether the photo was on his phone. He also declined to be interviewed by the police about the photo.
When the factory-reset phone was turned over to police after a warrant was issued, it took from September 23 until October 11 for the police to receive the sim card from Nehlen’s attorney even though the sim card was included in the warrant. The sim card was also erased when the phone was reset. Police were able to determine that the phone number for the phone was the one they used to originally contact Nehlen about the investigation.
In an eleven page report, Delafield Detective Sergeant Erik Voss wrote, “By deliberately turning in a factory reset blank phone with the SIM card missing, and then later turning in a blank SIM card after the fact, it is also apparent that Nehlen was attempting to conceal the contents of the phone which would definitively prove, or disprove, the phone was used to take a photo of his personal ballot which was then disseminated for everyone to see on the internet.”
Ironically, the report also indicates Voss told Nehlen’s attorney that if the candidate did not want to turn over the phone to police, the officer could just take a picture of the ballot picture on the phone instead. Meanwhile, throughout the investigation the photo of Nehlen’s completed ballot was posted on his Twitter account (it still is), and a television station also provided police with video of Nehlen taking a photo of his ballot.
When Fox 6 News contacted Nehlen for the story, he told them that he fully cooperated with the police.
“I promptly turned over the phone in response to their request. My attorney was in constant communication with officials to help facilitate an exchange of information. The phone was delivered in the condition that it was in at the time that it was requested. The oversight with the SIM card was just that. The SIM card was delivered when it was later requested.”
Nehlen was not prosecuted by the district attorney’s office for vote fraud because they determined the candidate was just trying to promote his campaign and not trying to sell his vote. Nehlen’s campaign treasurer in 2016 was notorious “scam PAC” operator Dan Backer. Despite losing 84 percent to 16 percent, Nehlen says he’s running again in 2018. He’s likely to attract campaign contributions from people around the country who believe Breitbart’s puffing up of his campaign.
— Paul Nehlen (@pnehlen) August 9, 2016