An attorney for Democratic Sen. Mark Manendo says he’s confident that his client will “ultimately be exonerated” after multiple complaints of sexual harassment were filed against the longtime legislator.
Richard Wright, a prominent Las Vegas defense attorney, said in an emailed statement that he was being retained by Manendo to provide legal counsel and that while he wasn’t aware of the specifics of the allegations, the senator planned to cooperate with the independent investigator hired by Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford to probe the complaints.
“All aspects of the investigation are confidential and he has been directed to not speak publicly about it,” he said. “We remain confident that he will ultimately be exonerated.”
Manendo referred questions to his attorney on Monday and refused to answer additional questions about the investigation.
The joint standing rules of the Assembly and state Senate prohibit sexual harassment and lay out a complaint process that can lead to a “discreet and impartial” investigation and can assign the complaint to a committee of lawmakers of the appropriate House. The rules direct legislators to take “appropriate disciplinary or remedial action” if sexual harassment policy is broken, but doesn’t specify what those actions might look like.
Manendo isn’t Wright’s first political client, as he also represented former Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki in a 2008 case alleging mismanagement of a college savings program.
The Democratic state senator was also investigated in 2003 over similar allegations of harassment, but no disciplinary action was ever taken. Manendo was first elected to the state Assembly in 1994 and began serving the state senate after the 2010 elections.
News of the filed complaints and investigation were first reported in The Nevada Independent on Friday.