Giuliani, Meadows charged in Arizona ‘fake elector’ indictment

GettyImages 1857343398 e1702664761908

An Arizona grand jury handed up felony charges against Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows and other prominent Trump allies for allegedly attempting to prevent the lawful transfer of power from then-President Trump to Joe Biden.

Seven Trump aides were charged alongside 11 pro-Trump Arizona Republicans who signed documents purporting to be the state’s valid electors in 2020.

The former president himself is not charged but is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Prosecutors accuse the 18 defendants of devising a scheme to raise false claims of election fraud to pressure Arizona election officials to overturn Biden’s narrow victory in the state.

The indictment, which was dated Tuesday but became public on Wednesday,  describes lawsuits filed, alleged messages to county and state officials and the signing of the “fake elector” documents in December 2020.

Each of the 11 pro-Trump electors faces nine charges, including conspiracy, fraud and forgery counts.

“In Arizona, and the United States, the people elected Joseph Biden as President on November 3, 2020,” the indictment reads.

“Unwilling to accept this fact, Defendants and unindicted coconspirators schemed to prevent the lawful transfer of the presidency to keep Unindicted Coconspirator 1 in office against the will of Arizona’s voters,” it continued, referring to Trump. “This scheme would have deprived Arizona voters of their right to vote and have their votes counted.”

Only the 11 alternate electors are identified by name, but descriptions contained within the charging documents make clear the other defendants include Giuliani, the former New York City mayor turned Trump attorney; Meadows, Trump’s White House chief of staff; Boris Epshteyn, a longtime Trump adviser; John Eastman, an attorney involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the election; Christina Bobb, another Trump attorney who now works for the Republican National Committee; and Mike Roman, the director of Election Day operations for Trump’s 2020 campaign.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes’s (D) office said their names will be made public after they have been served.

“I understand for some of you, today didn’t come fast enough. And I know I’ll be criticized by others for conducting this investigation at all,” Mayes said in a recorded video announcing the charges. 

“But as I have stated before, and we’ll say here again today, I will not allow American democracy to be undermined. It’s too important,” she added.

Mayes said her office is continuing to investigate the alleged scheme to subvert the state’s election results.

The 2020 presidential race in Arizona was one of the nation’s tightest, with Biden prevailing against Trump by just more than 10,000 votes. 

Arizona was one of seven battleground states where slates of “alternate electors” convened and claimed without basis that they were “duly elected” electors. The hope was that then-Vice President Mike Pence would recognize those Trump-supporting electors instead of the true electoral votes cast for Biden.

Arizona is now the fourth of those states to bring charges against the slates of pro-Trump electors, following charges brought in Michigan, Nevada and Georgia.

Without naming him, the indictment asserts that Giuliani — often identified as “the Mayor” — spread false claims of election fraud in Arizona. He pressured Arizona officials to change the outcome of the state’s election, and was responsible for encouraging the pro-Trump electors to vote for the former president’s ticket, according to the indictment.

Former Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R ) implicated Giuliani in his 2022 testimony before the House Jan. 6 committee. Bowers said that, despite repeatedly pushing the New York mayor-turned-Trump-surrogate for proof to back up his 2020 election fraud claims, Giuliani failed to produce any.

“My recollection, [Giuliani] said, ‘We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence,’” Bowers testified.

Meadows, also unnamed in the indictment, allegedly worked with members of Trump’s campaign to “coordinate and implement” the alternate electors’ votes in the battleground states, and was involved in “many efforts to keep Unindicted Coconspirator 1 (Trump) in power despite his defeat at the polls,” the charging document reads.

The other Trump allies allegedly helped implement the scheme, including by pressuring Pence to accept the pro-Trump slate of electors, according to the indictment.

The so-called ‘fake electors’ indicted are former Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward; her husband, Michael Ward; Tyler Bowyer, the chief operating officer of Turning Point Action; Nancy Cottle, who has held positions on the Maricopa County Republican Committee; Arizona State Sen. Jacob Hoffman; Arizona State Sen. Anthony Kern; former U.S. Senate candidate James Lamon; former Cochise County Republican Party Chair Robert Montgomery; Samuel Moorhead, a former Gila County Republican Party precinct committeeman; former Ahwatukee Republican Women president Lorraine Pellegrino; and Gregory Safsted, the state Republican party’s former executive director.

“It’s unfortunate to see so many so-called ‘leaders’ who are willing to eviscerate our entire justice system in their quest to take down the biggest threat to their grasp on power — President Donald Trump and anyone willing to take on the ruling regime,” Ted Goodman, Giuliani’s political adviser, said in a statement.

Hoffman said in a statement, “Let me be unequivocal, I am innocent of any crime, I will vigorously defend myself, and I look forward to the day when I am vindicated of this naked political persecution by the judicial process.”

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, said in a statement that the indictment is “another example of Democrats’ weaponization of the legal system.” He defended Bobb, specifically, as having “served our nation and the President with distinction.”

“The Democrat platform for 2024: if you can’t beat them, try to throw them in jail,” Cheung said. 

Updated at 10:25 p.m. EST.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top