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11 Republican “fake electors” indicted for falsely declaring Trump won Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona grand jury indicts former president Donald Trump the chief of staff Marc Preslawyer Rudy Giuliani and 16 others for their efforts to use so-called fake voters to try to overturn Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

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

Trump, who is described in the indictment as an unindicted co-conspirator, argued that he could not be prosecuted for acts he committed while president. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday on his bid to avoid federal prosecution for his efforts to overturn his loss.

With these indictments, Arizona becomes the fourth state where allies of the former president have been accused of using false or unproven claims about election-related voter fraud. As a likely rematch against Biden in November approaches, Trump continues to spread lies about the last election that are echoed by many of his supporters.

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

Eighteen people, including Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows and attorney Rudy Giuliani, have been indicted over allegations of conspiracy, fraud and forgery related to the 2020 election in Arizona. The AP’s Lisa Dwyer reports that Arizona becomes the fourth state to file charges against “fake voters.”

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

One is a lawyer “who was often identified as the mayor” and who spread false claims of election fraud, which clearly portray Giuliani. Another is that of Trump: “ chief of staff in 2020”, which describes Meadows.

Descriptions of other unnamed defendants refer to Mike Roman, who was Trump’s chief operations officer on Election Day; John Eastman, a lawyer who devised a strategy to try to persuade Congress not to certify the election; and Christina Bobb, a lawyer who worked with Giuliani. Eastman and Bobb did not respond to text messages seeking comment, nor did a lawyer who represents Roman in a Georgia case.

George Terwilliger, an attorney representing Meadows, said he had not yet seen the indictment, but that if Meadows is named, “this is a blatantly political and politicized charge that will be challenged and rejected”. Giuliani’s political adviser, Ted Goodman, denounced what he called “the continued militarization of our justice system.”

The 11 people who had been appointed as Arizona’s Republican electors gathered in Phoenix on December 14, 2020, to sign a certificate stating that they were “duly elected and qualified” electors and affirming that Trump carried the state. A one minute video The signing ceremony was posted on social media by the Arizona Republican Party 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 the eight trials who unsuccessfully challenged Biden’s victory in the state, one was filed by the 11 Republicans who would later sign the certificate declaring Trump the winner.

Their lawsuit asked a judge to decertify the results that gave Biden his victory in Arizona and block the state from sending them to the Electoral College. In dismissing the case, U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa said the Republicans lacked a legal basis, waited too long to present their case and “failed to provide the court with factual support for their allegations.” extraordinary.”

A few days after the dismissal of this lawsuit, the 11 Republicans participated in the signing of the certificate.

The charges in Arizona follow a series of indictments against bogus voters in other states.

In December, a Nevada grand jury indicts six Republicans for the crime of offering a false instrument for filing and using a false instrument in connection with false election certificates. They have pleaded not guilty.

Michigan Attorney General in July filed criminal charges this included forgery and conspiracy to commit election fraud against 16 bogus Republican voters. One had his charges dropped after entering into a cooperation agreement, and the remaining 15 defendants were pleaded not guilty.

Three fake voters were also charged in Georgia alongside Trump and others in a sweeping indictment accusing them of participating in a massive scheme to illegally overturn the results. They have pleaded not guilty.

In Wisconsin, 10 Republicans posing as voters settled a civil lawsuit, admitting that their actions were part of an effort to overturn Biden’s victory. There is no known criminal investigations in Wisconsin.

Trump was also indicted in federal court in August on election fraud charges. The indictment states that when Trump failed to persuade state officials to illegally swing the election, he and his Republican allies began recruiting a list of fake voters in battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan , New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – to falsely sign certificates. declaring that he, not Biden, had won their states.

In early January, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez said the state’s five Republican electors could not be prosecuted under current law. In New Mexico and Pennsylvania, fake voters added a caveat stating that the certificate of election was submitted in case they were later recognized as duly elected and qualified voters. No charges have been filed in Pennsylvania.

In Arizona, Mayes’ predecessor, Republican Mark Brnovich, led an investigation into the 2020 election, but false voter claims were not part of that review, according to Mayes’ office.

In another election-related case brought by Mayes’ office, two Republican officials in a rural Arizona county who delayed reporting 2022 general election results face criminal charges. A grand jury indicted Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby in November were each charged with conspiracy and interference with an election official. Both pleaded not guilty.

The Republicans charged are Kelli Ward, state GOP chair from 2019 until early 2023; State Senator Jake Hoffman; Tyler Bowyer, an executive with the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA who serves on the Republican National Committee; State Sen. Anthony Kern, who was photographed in restricted areas outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack and is now running in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District; Greg Safsten, former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party; energy industry executive James Lamon, who lost a 2022 Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat; Robert Montgomery, 2020 Cochise County Republican Committee Chairman; Gila County Republican Precinct Committeeman Samuel Moorhead; Nancy Cottle, who in 2020 served as the first vice president of the Arizona Federation of Republican Women; Loraine Pellegrino, former president of the Ahwatukee Republican Women; and Michael Ward, an osteopathic physician married to Kelli Ward.

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

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

None of the others responded to phone, email or social media messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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

News Source : apnews.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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