11 Republican “fake voters” charged with falsely declaring Trump a victory in Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona grand jury has indicted the former president Donald Trump Chief of Staff of Mark MeadowsLawyer Rudy Giuliani 16 more for efforts to use so-called voter fraud to overturn Trump's loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

The indictment released Wednesday names 11 Republicans who submitted documents to Congress falsely declaring Trump won Arizona in 2020, including a former state party chairman, a 2022 U.S. Senate candidate and two state legislators. They have been charged with nine counts of conspiracy, fraud and forgery. The identities of the seven defendants, including Giuliani and Meadows, were not immediately released because they had not yet been served with charges.

Trump, who is described as an uncharged co-conspirator in the indictment, has argued that he cannot be prosecuted for actions he took while serving as president. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday will hear arguments on his bid to avoid federal prosecution over his efforts to reverse his loss.

With the indictments, Arizona became the fourth state where associates of a former president have been charged with making false or unproven claims about voter fraud related to the election. Trump, who faces a November rematch with Biden, has continued to spread falsehoods about past elections, a sentiment echoed by many of his supporters.

“I will not allow American democracy to be undermined,” Democratic state Attorney General Chris Mayes said in a video released by his office. “It's very important.”

Eighteen people, including Donald Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows and attorney Rudy Giuliani, have been charged in Arizona with conspiracy, fraud and racketeering related to the 2020 election. The AP's Lisa Dwyer reports that Arizona becomes the fourth state to press charges against “voter fraud.”

The Associated Press was able to determine the identities of the unnamed defendants based on descriptions in the document.

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One was “often identified as the mayor” and spread false allegations of election fraud, which clearly describes Giuliani. Another is Trump's ” Chief Staff in 2020,” which describes grasslands.

Briefs from other unnamed defendants point to Mike Roman, who was Trump's director of Election Day operations; John Eastman, a lawyer who devised a strategy to persuade Congress not to certify the election; and Christina Babb, an attorney who worked with Giuliani. Eastman and Bob did not respond to text messages seeking comment, as did an attorney representing Roman in a lawsuit in Georgia.

George Terwilliger, an attorney representing Meadows, said he had not yet seen the indictment, but if Meadows were named, “it is a blatantly political and political charge and will be contested and defeated.” Ted Goodman, a political adviser to Giuliani, decried what he called “the continued weaponization of our justice system.”

Arizona's 11 Republican nominees met in Phoenix on December 14, 2020, and signed an affidavit saying they were “duly elected and qualified” voters and carried the Trump administration. One minute video The Arizona Republican Party posted the signing ceremony on social media at the time. The document was then sent to Congress and the National Archives, where it was ignored.

Biden won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes. of Eight cases The failed bid for Biden's victory in the state was filed by 11 Republicans who later signed a certificate declaring Trump the winner.

Their lawsuit asked the judge to decertify the results that led to Biden's victory in Arizona and prevent them from being sent to the Electoral College. In dismissing the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Diane Humedeva said the Republicans lacked legal standing, waited too long to file their case and “failed to provide the court with factual support for their extraordinary claims.”

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Days after that lawsuit was dismissed, 11 Republicans participated in the certification signing.

The Arizona charges come after a string of allegations against voter fraud in other states.

In December, A A Nevada grand jury indicted six Republicans On charges of filing a forged document and uttering a forged document in respect of false election certificates. They have Innocent.

Attorney General of Michigan in July He filed a charge sheet That includes 16 counts of fraudulent voter fraud and conspiracy to commit election fraud against 16 Republican candidates. One charge was dropped after a cooperation agreement was reached, with 15 remaining defendants Innocent.

Three Georgia voter fraud charges have also been indicted With Trump and others in a grand indictment accusing them of participating in a wide-ranging scheme to illegally alter results. They have Innocent.

In Wisconsin, 10 Republicans showed up as voters Settled a civil suit, their actions were acknowledged as part of an effort to overturn Biden's victory. is there There is no known criminal prosecution in Wisconsin.

Trump was indicted in federal court in August in connection with the fraudulent voter scheme. As stated in the charge sheet When Trump was unable to persuade government officials to illegally change the election, he and his Republican allies began recruiting fake voters in the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Not Biden, he said he won their states.

In early January, New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torres said the state's five Republican voters could not be prosecuted under current law. In New Mexico and Pennsylvania, bogus voters added a warning and then submitted a certificate of election if they were recognized as duly elected, qualified voters. No charges have been filed in Pennsylvania.

In Arizona, Mayes' predecessor, Republican Mark Bronovich, led the investigation into the 2020 election, but Mayes' office said the voter fraud allegations were not part of that examination.

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In another election-related case brought by Mayes' office, two Republican officials in a rural Arizona district are facing criminal charges for delaying the campaign's 2022 general election results. A A grand jury indicted Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby each face one count of conspiracy and interference with an election official in November. Both Innocent.

Kelly Ward, who chaired the state GOP from 2019 to early 2023, is facing charges from Republicans; State Sen. Jake Hoffman; Tyler Bowyer, executive director of the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA, serves on the Republican National Committee; State Senate. Anthony Kern, photographed in restricted areas outside the US Capitol during the January 6 attack, is now a candidate in Arizona's 8th Congressional District; Greg Chafston, former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party; Energy Department executive James Lawman lost his U.S. Senate seat in the 2022 Republican primary; Robert Montgomery, Chairman of the Cochise County Republican Committee in 2020; Samuel Moorhead, Republican delegate from Gila County; Nancy Cottle, Arizona Republican Women First Vice Chair in 2020; Lorraine Pellegrino, past president of Ahwatukee Republican Women; and Michael Ward, an osteopathic physician married to Kelly Ward.

In a statement, Hoffman accused Mayes of arming the attorney general's office in bringing the case, but did not comment directly on the allegations in the indictment.

“Let me be unequivocal, I am innocent of any wrongdoing, I will vigorously defend myself, and I look forward to the day when I am vindicated through the judicial process for this blatant political persecution,” Hoffman said.

No one else responded to The Associated Press' phone, email or social media messages seeking comment.

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Associated Press writers Gabe Stern and Scott Sonner in Las Vegas, Kate Brumback in Atlanta and Mark Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania contributed to this report.

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