Meadows, Giuliani among indicted in Arizona in latest 2020 election subversion case


An Arizona grand jury has returned an indictment against former President Donald Trump’s allies for their efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat, including that state’s bogus voters and several people linked to his campaign .

Boris Epshteyn, a former White House aide who remains one of Trump’s closest advisors; former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; and Rudy Giuliani are among those charged, according to a source close to the investigation.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, announced the indictment Wednesday evening, focusing on the 11 people who acted as pro-Trump electors in the state. The names of several other defendants remain redacted, Mayes said in a statement Wednesday, until those individuals have been served.

“A state grand jury of regular Arizonans has now returned felony indictments against the 11 Republican electors as well as several others connected to this scheme,” Mayes said. “These are serious charges, but this is the first hurdle the state must clear in our constitutional criminal justice system. We intend to prove that these crimes were committed beyond a reasonable doubt.

Although Trump is not among those charged in Arizona, details of the indictment suggest he is “unindicted co-conspirator #1.”

CNN is contacting those charged for comment.

The Arizona indictment includes nine counts, ranging from conspiracy and forgery to engaging in fraudulent schemes. Since the indictment remains partially redacted, it’s unclear what exactly the charges are against Trump allies such as Meadows, Epshteyn and Giuliani.

“In Arizona and the United States, the people elected Joseph Biden President on November 3, 2020,” the indictment states. “Unwilling to accept this fact, defendants and unindicted co-conspirators conspired to prevent the lawful transfer of the presidency in order to keep unindicted co-conspirator 1 in power against the wishes of Arizona voters.”

The scheme, according to the indictment, called on fake electors to fraudulently vote for Trump, “by falsely claiming to be the duly elected and qualified electors for President and Vice President of the United States from the State of ‘Arizona’.

“Defendants deceived the citizens of Arizona by falsely claiming that these votes were solely dependent on a legal challenge that would change the outcome of the election,” the indictment continues. “In reality, Defendants intended that their false votes for Trump-Pence would encourage Pence to reject the Biden-Harris votes on January 6, 2021, regardless of the outcome of the legal challenge. »

This scheme failed on January 6, 2021, when then-Vice President Mike Pence accepted electoral votes for Joe Biden, the indictment says.

Eastman and Trump 2020 campaign officials also indicted

Although the names of several defendants in the Arizona case remain redacted because they have not yet been served, the indictment nonetheless describes their roles in the alleged conspiracy.

Others charged in the Arizona indictment but whose names were redacted, the source close to the investigation told CNN, include Trump allies Mike Roman, a 2020 campaign official ; Jenna Ellis, Trump campaign attorney; and conservative lawyer John Eastman.

Roman, Ellis and Eastman were also indicted in the Georgia election subversion case, as were Meadows and Giuliani. Ellis pleaded guilty to one charge in the Georgia case. The others pleaded not guilty.

Epshteyn has never before been charged in connection with the 2020 post-election efforts to overturn Trump’s defeat.

Meadows, whose name is redacted in the indictment but who is listed as Trump’s chief of staff in 2020, “worked with members of the Trump campaign to coordinate and implement the false votes of Republican voters in Arizona and six other states,” the indictment states: and “was involved in numerous efforts to keep (Trump) in power despite his defeat in the election.”

The individual CNN identified as Giuliani is described as spreading false claims of voter fraud across the country after the 2020 election, falsely claiming that Arizona officials “made no effort to find out” whether the vote was accurate and encouraging “the Republican voters of Arizona.” and in six other contested states, vote for Trump-Pence on December 14, 2020,” the indictment states.

Other unnamed defendants allegedly worked to overturn the results of the 2020 election by encouraging Pence to reject or delay certification of the January 6 electoral vote, spreading false claims of voter fraud, encouraging fake voters, and working to implement the fake voter system in Arizona.

The case adds scrutiny to actions taken on Trump’s behalf after the last election. It also comes as Trump’s legal team will argue before the Supreme Court on Thursday that he is immune from prosecution in the federal election interference case – at the same time Trump is on trial in New York for paying hush money to cover up an alleged Supreme Court case. 2016 election.

The Arizona case is the latest state-level lawsuit aimed at jeopardizing Biden’s election victory. Prosecutors in Michigan, Georgia and Nevada have also filed criminal charges against some of the people who registered as bogus voters in those states. Investigators in Wisconsin are conducting a similar investigation.

A grand jury impaneled in Maricopa County, Arizona, to investigate efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results met this week before Mayes announced the charges.

CNN previously reported that Arizona prosecutors had issued a series of grand jury subpoenas to people linked to the Trump campaign and to several individuals who served as bogus voters in the state – a sign that the The investigation accelerated as the 2024 presidential election approached.

Some of the fake voters who were ultimately indicted in Arizona recently appeared before the grand jury and cited Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination, sources familiar with the investigation told CNN.

Mayes initially focused her investigation on the 11 fake Arizona voters and those who helped organize them, but the sources recently told CNN that she was also investigating individuals linked to the former president’s national campaign. president.

“We have conducted a thorough and professional investigation over the past 13 months into the bogus election scheme in our state,” Mayes said Wednesday. “I understand that for some of you, today did not come quickly enough. And I know I will be criticized by others for conducting this investigation. But as I have said before and will say again here today, I will not allow American democracy to be undermined.”

Several Arizona state officials told the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol that Trump and his allies tried to pressure them to decertify the results state elections.

Fake Trump voters gathered at Republican Party headquarters in Phoenix on December 14, 2020. They spread preparing to sign documents, purportedly provided by a Trump campaign lawyer, claiming they were the rightful representatives of the state’s electoral votes.

By then, Trump’s defeat in the state — by fewer than 11,000 votes — had already been certified by its Republican governor, claiming that Biden had won Arizona in the 2020 presidential election. But within weeks In the aftermath, some of the fake voters continued to push for Pence to reject the Democrats’ legitimate voter slate.

The fake election ploy and pressure campaign on Pence are the focal points of special counsel Jack Smith’s federal indictment of Trump.

This story and headline have been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s Rashard Rose contributed to this report.

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