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Grand jury indicts Arizona Republicans for fraud in 2020 'fake elector' scheme

Trump allies in Arizona falsely posed as presidential electors in an attempt to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

John Tanet, Brahm Resnik

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Published: 6:12 PM CDT April 24, 2024
Updated: 2:15 PM CDT May 6, 2024

An Arizona grand jury has brought charges of fraud and forgery against multiple Republicans in the state for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona. 

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, announced Wednesday that Kelli Ward, Tyler Bowyer, Nancy Cottle, James Lamon, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Moorhead, Lorraine Pellegrino, Gregory Safsten, and Michael Ward have been indicted.

Arizona lawmakers Anthony Kern and Jake Hoffman are also among the defendants listed in the indictment.

Several defendants in the indictment have been redacted by the AG's office. 

The indictment alleges the defendants engaged in a scheme to keep Donald Trump as president after Joe Biden narrowly won Arizona in 2020.

The alleged scheme involved pressuring elected officials to change the outcome of Arizona's election. When those efforts failed, the defendants submitted certificates of "false" votes for Trump.

"Defendants intended that their false votes for Trump-Pence would encourage (Mike) Pence to reject the Biden-Harris votes on January 6, 2021," the indictment states.

Then-Vice President Mike Pence ended up certifying the Biden-Harris votes.

The indictment also redacts the name of unindicted co-conspirators, but makes it clear by describing their positions who many of them are: former President Trump, Trump attorneys Christina Bobb, John Eastman,  Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani;  Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows and top Trump 2020 campaign advisor Boris Epshteyn and campaign aide Mike Roman.

"Defendants and their unindicted coconspirators deceived the public with false claims of election fraud in order to prevent the lawful transfer of the presidency," the indictment states.

Hoffman, who represents the Queen Creek and east Mesa areas, accused Mayes of "weaponizing" her office to go after political opponents.

"Let me be unequivocal, 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," Hoffman said in a statement.

The criminal indictment charges the 11 named defendants with the felony offenses of conspiracy, fraud and forgery. The charging document can be read below:

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