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Matt Innis won't face charges after being arrested at Nebraska GOP convention

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GOP Eric Underwood, 7.14 (copy)

Matt Innis (center) and Fanchon Blythe, in red, who both initially had their credentials to the State GOP Convention removed, were among those in attendance at a media event on July 14 as new party Republican Chairman Eric Underwood spoke about his plans.

After being arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault and second-degree trespassing outside the Nebraska GOP convention in Kearney last month, Republican Matt Innis won't face criminal charges. 

Buffalo County Attorney Shawn Eatherton said Friday that his office did not have strong enough evidence to prosecute Innis or anyone else involved in the case. In a letter sent to Innis on Thursday, Eatherton told Innis he was not required to appear in court on Aug. 10.

“Based on the information this office received and a review of the evidence, please be advised our office has decided NOT to file a case against you at this time,” Eatherton said in the letter. "Therefore, you do not need to appear in court on Aug. 10, 2022, at 2:30 p.m."

Innis, of Crete, could not be reached for comment Friday.

He was arrested after he tried to enter the convention center and was stopped by security staff, leading to a scuffle that prompted staff to call the police, the Nebraska Examiner reported. One staffer alleged that Innis lunged at him and assaulted him, though Innis claimed he was shoved or grabbed by someone and he defended himself, not knowing it was security.

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In a social media post, Innis disputed the account by security staff, writing that "when someone came forward stating a video shows the head of security was lying about the initial incident, the security people were then removed, the person they claimed was such a threat was allowed into the convention, and the convention continued without any security on site."

Eatherton said his office reviewed video footage and witness testimony among the evidence of the incident. 

Innis, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump who hasn't been afraid to criticize fellow Republicans, was one of six Republicans who had their credentials revoked so they could not serve as delegates at the convention. Some said they had their credentials revoked because they had vocally criticized or directly challenged Republican leadership or nominees, including Gov. Pete Ricketts and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen.

Innis, along with at least one other delegate who was denied entry, Fanchon Blythe, arrived at the convention center to challenge the decision.

Their removal was the subject of one of many heated debates that day. Some delegates argued that revoking their credentials was an attack on free speech. 

After Innis' arrest, the remaining delegates voted to reinstate his credentials, along with four of the other delegates, including Blythe. Innis later returned to the convention center to serve as a delegate. 

Later that day, a majority of delegates voted to fire GOP Chairman Dan Welch and elected Eric Underwood as the new chairman. 

Days later, Innis and Blythe both attended a media event at GOP headquarters where Underwood weighed in on the party's goals and direction going forward.

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