Newly appointed Nevada judge pushed Las Vegas mass shooting conspiracy theory on fringe program

Pete Santilli and Michele Fiore

Republican Michele Fiore was recently appointed to a judgeship in Nevada, where she’ll be responsible for determining whether certain “cases have enough evidence” for trial. In 2021, Fiore appeared on a fringe right-wing program and promoted a conspiracy theory about the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, claiming that “there was never any evidence of the guy that they say did the shooting.” 

Fiore is a former radio host who previously served on the Las Vegas City Council and in the Nevada Assembly. She unsuccessfully ran for Nevada State Treasurer, governor, and U.S. Congress. In December 2022, Nye County commissioners appointed Fiore, who notably does not have a law degree, to serve as a Pahrump Justice of the Peace. 

Nevada Justices of the Peace are responsible for determining “whether felony or gross misdemeanor cases have enough evidence to be bound over to a District Court for trial. In addition, Justice Courts preside over non-traffic misdemeanor, small claims, summary eviction, temporary protection, and traffic cases.” 

Fiore has a history of extreme rhetoric and support for anti-government extremists and their causes. In 2014 and 2016, she gained national attention for supporting the Bundy family in their armed standoffs with federal officers (she subsequently negotiated their surrender in 2016). Fiore is also connected to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.

Fiore has attempted to build a profile through connections with extreme right-wing media figures, including pro-violence conspiracy theorist Roger Stone, radio host huckster Wayne Allyn Root, and militia-tied former sheriff Richard Mack. She has also appeared on fringe programs, including on The Pete Santilli Show

Santilli is a militia-linked radio host with a history of questioning mass shootings and calling for violence. Fiore and Santilli have known each other for years, including during Santilli’s role related to the Bundy standoff

On October 1, 2017, a gunman killed 60 people at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. 

During a December 17, 2021, appearance on Santilli’s program, Fiore pushed the accusation that government officials staged a coverup of the mass shooting, claiming that “there was never any evidence of the guy that they say did the shooting.” 

Video file

Citation From the December 17, 2021, edition of The Pete Santilli Show

PETE SANTILLI (host): I told Michele Fiore, I said, “When we talk about ‘conspiracy theories’ about the Mandalay Bay shooting, I don't want you to be associated with me making a statement like that.” So I want to make it really clear, when I say that Joe Lombardo suppressed information that the public should have known about, and those were the 911 call recordings that I listened to, hours of them where people were talking about shootings up and down the Strip, that were never made it to the public. 

MICHELE FIORE: One thing I'll tell you that -- because I do have to tell you, a lot of the Metro Police officers are my friends and a couple of them have said to me, “Michele, you know, the October 1, you know, the reports we received were redacted.” So there was never any evidence of the guy that they say did the shooting. 

SANTILLI: Paddock. 

FIORE: Yeah, yeah. 

SANTILLI: There was never any evidence? 

FIORE: Right. 

SANTILLI: Really? Wow.  

Santilli promoted that portion of the interview online with the headline, “NO EVIDENCE THAT PADDOCK PERPETRATED THE SHOOTING AT MANDALAY BAY IN NV & LOMBARDO COVERED IT UP.” 

Following the shooting, various versions of the conspiracy theory that the government had orchestrated the shooting and framed Paddock proliferated, especially on far-right outlets and YouTube