Apr 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Arizona grand jury indicts 2020 Trump electors

A signt hat says "maricopa county" with A Trump flag in the background.

Supporters of President Trump demonstrate at the Maricopa County Elections Department office in November 2020. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Republican electors who submitted votes falsely asserting that former President Trump won Arizona in 2020 have been indicted along with several Trump allies, Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Arizona is the fourth state to bring charges against electors who falsely cast votes for Trump in states that President Biden won, along with Michigan, Georgia and Nevada.

Driving the news: The group of 11 electors indicted by a state grand jury includes two state lawmakers, a former chair of the Arizona Republican Party and the COO of Turning Point USA.

  • Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump's former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were among seven other unnamed defendants, The Washington Post reported.

Flashback: Trump electors met in seven states that Biden won in 2020 and falsely submitted their electoral votes for the incumbent president.

Zoom in: Each of the 11 Arizona fake electors — Tyler Bowyer, Nancy Cottle, state Sen. Jake Hoffman, state Sen. Anthony Kern, Jim Lamon, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Moorhead, Loraine Pellegrino, Greg Safsten, Kelli Ward and Michael Ward — face nine felony counts for conspiracy, fraudulent schemes and artifices and forgery.

Catch up quick: The AG's office launched its investigation several months after Mayes, a Democrat, took office and replaced Republican Mark Brnovich.

  • State investigators met in December with former Trump campaign attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who wrote memos outlining the elector strategy.
  • In October, Chesebro pleaded guilty in Georgia to one felony count of conspiracy to commit filing false documents.

What they're saying: "I will not allow American democracy to be undermined. It's too important," Mayes said in a video released Wednesday.

  • "Arizona's election was free and fair. The people of Arizona elected President Biden."

The other side: Hoffman, one of the electors, said in a statement that Mayes "weaponized" her office against Republicans.

  • "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," he said.
  • Dennis Wilenchik, an attorney for another elector, Jim Lamon, told Axios that his client was told that he was signing the vote only as a contingency if Trump's legal challenges prevailed.
  • Asked whether Lamon might take a plea deal and become a witness in the case, he said, "Anything's possible, but there's nothing on the table right now."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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