State crime charges filed against Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, and Arizona’s fake electors’

A state grand jury in Arizona on Wednesday indicted Trump aides Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, and Boris Epshteyn, as well as so-called “fake electors” who supported then-President Donald Trump in 2020, following a sprawling investigation into alleged efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state’s presidential election.

One month after the 2020 election, 11 Trump supporters met at the Arizona Republican Party’s offices in Phoenix to sign a certificate claiming to be Arizona’s 11 electors to the Electoral College, despite the fact that Biden won the state by 10,457 votes and state officials confirmed his electors. The state Republican Party documented the signing of the certificate on social media and forwarded it to Congress and the National Archives.

State crime charges filed against Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, and Arizona's fake electors'

The indictment refers to Trump as “Unindicted Coconspirator 1” and charges him with conspiracy, fraud, and forgery. The paper also describes those who have been charged in the case but have not yet been served, with their identities redacted: Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff; Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and Trump attorney; Epshteyn, a Trump campaign official and attorney; Mike Roman, a former Trump campaign and White House official; Jenna Ellis, a former Trump attorney; Christina Bobb, a former Trump attorney; and John Eastman, another attorney and Trump legal adviser following the 2020 election.

Epshteyn sat at Trump’s defense table when he was arraigned in his New York hush money case last year, but he did not attend during the trial.

Kelli Ward, the Arizona GOP chair during and after the 2020 election, is also among those indicted in Arizona. She tweeted on January 6, 2021, following the attack on the United States Capitol: “Congress has adjourned. “Return the elector choice to the legislatures.” Ward was a Trump supporter who repeatedly spread false accusations that Arizona’s election results were manipulated.

State crime charges filed against Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, and Arizona's fake electors'

State legislators Anthony Kern and Jake Hoffman; Michael Ward, Kelli Ward’s husband; Tyler Bowyer, the Republican National Committee’s Arizona committeeman and the chief operating officer of the Trump-aligned Turning Point USA; Greg Safsten, the former Arizona GOP executive director; former U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lamon; Robert Montgomery, the former head of the Cochise County GOP; and Republican Party activists S.

Another line in the indictment appears to identify attorney Kenneth Chesebro, one of the accused scheme’s coordinators, as an unindicted coconspirator. Last year, Chesebro pled guilty in Georgia to conspiracy charges made against him, Trump, and 17 others. He is also thought to be one of the anonymous co-conspirators named in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal election interference charge of Trump last year.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, oversaw the inquiry. She was elected as the state’s lead prosecutor in November 2022, succeeding Republican Mark Brnovich, a former Trump ally who later came under fire for failing to back up his charges of election fraud in the state.

“We conducted a thorough and professional investigation into the fake electors scheme in our state for the past 13 months,” Mayes said in a video announcing the allegations. “I understand that for some of you, today did not come quickly enough.” And I am aware that others will blame me for doing this study at all. But, as I have previously declared, and as we will reiterate here today, I will not allow American democracy to be compromised.”

The Arizona accusations are the latest evidence of Trump’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election turning into legal challenges during his 2024 reelection campaign.

Arizona was one of seven states where “alternate electors” signed documents falsely stating Trump won the election. prosecutors have already charged “alternate electors” in Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan.

State crime charges filed against Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, and Arizona's fake electors'

Chesebro and others, including Eastman, suggested in the months following the 2020 election that then-Vice President Mike Pence might utilize the existence of the alternate electors to declare Trump the winner when he presided over the electoral vote tally in Congress on Jan. 6.

In a memo, Eastman stated that there are no lawfully appointed electors in the seven states due to ongoing issues. There are currently 232 votes for Trump and 222 for Biden. Pence then declares President Trump re-elected.”

Trump lost Arizona by just under 11,000 votes. As Republican electors delivered fraudulent certifications to Washington, Trump attempted to exert pressure on Maricopa County leaders and other Arizona Republicans, including then-state House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Gov. Doug Ducey.

Trump called Ducey directly when the governor confirmed the state’s election results. Ducey muted the phone.

Mayes’ tenure as Arizona attorney general has been highlighted by further election cases coming from Trump’s bogus assertions about fraud in the 2020 election and beyond.

Mayes charged two municipal officials last fall with delaying the certification of Cochise County’s midterm election results in 2022. After months of making unfounded claims about the election’s integrity, the officials voted against certifying the county’s election results by the statutory deadline. The county only certified the election results when a judge compelled it to do so.


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