Krolicki prosecutor named

A veteran Las Vegas criminal defense attorney has been chosen to prosecute Acting Gov. Brian Krolicki for mishandling state funds.

Dominic Gentile was the surprise pick after a state judge removed the attorney general’s office from the case.

Krolicki, the lieutenant governor, is acting as governor while Gov. Jim Gibbons is out of state this week.

Gentile, one of the state’s leading defense lawyers, was once secretly disciplined by the State Bar of Nevada for his out-of-court public statements defending a client accused on drug charges, a case Gentile appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The result was a significant speech case that overturned the discipline. (The client was found not guilty.)

The charges against Krolicki involve his conduct when he was state treasurer. He is accused of not running money from the state college savings plan “through the appropriate accounting system,” in the words of deputy attorney general Conrad Hafen. No money is missing.

The attorney general’s office was taken off the case because it provided Krolicki as state treasurer with legal advice on the college savings program. In legal circles, many lawyers are questioning why the attorney general chose a private attorney to substitute as prosecutor instead of following the previous practice of handing the case off to a county district attorney.

Former Carson City district attorney Noel Waters said he accepted several cases from the AG during his tenure, and he believes the same thing happened in Washoe County.