Tech billionaire Henry Nicholas, the founder of Broadcom, was charged with drug trafficking on Aug. 7. New York residents may be familiar with Nicholas, who is a well-known philanthropist and advocate for victims of crime.
The charges against Nicholas and one other person, a woman who is reportedly the ex-wife of a Wells Fargo heir, happened in Las Vegas at a casino-resort after contraband was found in a room. Nicholas and the woman were both taken into custody on suspicion of trafficking cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and meth. Both were later released on their own recognizance. Records indicate that a court hearing is set for September.
One attorney and legal expert says that even if Nicholas was not trying to make money selling drugs, giving them away or sharing them is considered trafficking under the law. Nicholas's attorney says that his team is investigating the situation and preparing for court.
As a victims' rights activist, Nicholas funded Marsy's Law measures in many states. Named after his sister, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1983, the law is a victims' bill of rights that has been adopted in five states so far. The Marsy's Law organization issued a statement saying that Nicholas's current legal situation should not interfere with efforts to promote the law. Marsy's Law will be on the November ballot in Nevada, where Nicholas's drug charges were made.
Drug charges in any state can become federal cases. When a drug charge is a federal crime, the penalties could be more severe than those for a state or misdemeanor crime. Nevertheless, even the most blatant appearance of guilt, such as being found in possession of drugs, does not mean an automatic conviction. Anyone who is charged with a drug crime has a right to legal representation and the right to fight the charges.