Mar 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

What we know about Arizona's 2020 fake elector investigation

Photo illustration of Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Maura Losch/Axios. Photo: Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty Images

With grand jury proceedings underway, Attorney General Kris Mayes' office won't say how much longer her fake Trump electors investigation will last.

Why it matters: Mayes, a Democrat, launched the investigation last year to look into the 11 Arizona Republicans who signed documents falsely claiming former President Trump won the state in 2020.

The big picture: Indictments could send shockwaves through the state as the false elector slate includes elected officials and other high-profile Republicans. They would also reverberate nationally.

What they're saying: "I can say the investigation is ongoing but I can't say anything else today," Mayes spokesperson Richie Taylor told Axios Monday.

State of play: A grand jury earlier this month issued subpoenas to the fake electors and others linked to Trump's 2020 campaign and attempts to overturn his loss. It could be a sign that Mayes, a Democrat, is nearing a decision on charges.

  • In a December email, the chief special agent in the attorney general's criminal division wrote that he expected the office to be "tied up" with the electors investigation until March, the Arizona Republic reported.
  • Taylor wouldn't comment on whether he expected new developments in the case before the end of this month.
  • Mayes said in late February that her office would "announce something in the relatively near future," KJZZ reported.

The latest: State Sen. Anthony Kern, one of the 11 Trump electors, held a press conference in front of Maricopa County Superior Court on Monday morning denouncing Mayes and accusing Democrats of "using lawfare tactics to bankrupt me and prevent me from running for office in 2024."

  • "I'm here in front of the Superior Court building this morning because I was an alternate elector in November 2020 for President Donald Trump."
  • "I was asked to step up, along with other ordinary citizens, and I chose to accept," he said.

Yes, but: After the press conference, Kern refused to answer questions, went into the courthouse in an apparent attempt to evade the press and asked security to provide him with an escort, which was declined.

  • He walked through the building, left through a different entrance and drove away while ignoring reporters' questions.
  • Kern — who is also running for Congress — didn't file anything with the court and wouldn't explain why he was there.
  • His lawyer, Kurt Altman, told Axios it was "just a campaign speech."

Flashback: Trump lost Arizona by 10,457 votes in 2020, the first Republican presidential candidate to lose the state in 24 years.

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