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Ethio-American politician faces Charges

Alexander Assefa, who made history by becoming the first Ethiopian–American politician elected as an assembly man in the State of Nevada in 2018, abruptly resigned, facing two career-ending charges.

The 38-year-old Ethiopia born American, who had represented a district in Las Vegas, faces perjury and theft charges after the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department concluded its lengthy investigation, confiscating much of his belongings in the process. His case has now moved to prosecution stage.

According to the Police, Alexander faces, among others, giving false statement, burglary and giving “false statement to procure a marriage license.”

While he faces these charges, in his resignation letter, he insisted his resignation was linked to a question of residency, which requires a person reside in an area he/she represents, to which he admitted he did not, but neglected to mention the charges.

A Democrat, Alexander was re-elected last year in a safe Democratic seat.

He moved to the United States in 2000 and was said to have established a role in several states, as an activist within the Ethiopian American community. Most recently, he organized for the Joe Biden Campaign for support among Ethiopian–American communities in a closely contested election, in which his adopted state of Nevada was seen as a toss-up state.

He was also credited for using the might of his Office to speak out against the now ex- President, Donald Trump, when the latter seemed to side with Egypt on the issue concerning the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The President controversially embraced the role of a cheerleader for Egypt, and not a role of a mediator.

"Let me remind you – the diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and the United States have lasted over 117 years. The relationship was founded on the solid and unshakable ground of cooperation. Your uninvited interference will not undermine the century-old progress that is made on peace, security and regional stability,” he wrote in an open letter to the then President. 

Alexander is the fourth Democratic state lawmaker of Las Vegas to resign since 2017. Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson resigned in 2019 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges for an alleged misappropriation of campaign contributions to open a Las Vegas nightclub and pay off credit card debts. This has prompted legislatures to approve a bill that require more detailed reporting of campaign spending and ban candidates from using contributions to pay salaries to themselves.