Arizona indicts senior Trump aides over 2020 fake elector scheme

Phoenix, Arizona - Arizona has charged 18 people over a scheme to subvert the 2020 election in favor of Donald Trump, the state's attorney general said Wednesday, with the ex-president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani identified among those indicted.

Ex-president Donald Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows (r.) and former attorney Rudy Giuliani have been charged in the Arizona 2020 fake elector scheme.
Ex-president Donald Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows (r.) and former attorney Rudy Giuliani have been charged in the Arizona 2020 fake elector scheme.  © Collage: REUTERS

The felony indictments, which allege a conspiracy to award Arizona's slate of electors to the defeated real estate magnate, are the latest effort by a state to hold accountable those who backed Trump's false claim that he won the presidential vote.

Arizona's Attorney General Kris Mayes said a grand jury had returned indictments on 11 local Republicans, including the party's former state chair, and seven others from out of state, whose names were redacted until all have been served with papers.

According to the Washington Post, the seven include former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, attorneys Jenna Ellis, John Eastman and campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, as well as Giuliani, who acted as Trump's personal lawyer.

Biden is reportedly considering major Supreme Court reforms
Joe Biden Biden is reportedly considering major Supreme Court reforms

The former president himself was not charged, but was named as an unindicted co-conspirator, the Post said.

Democrat Joe Biden won Arizona, a critical election battleground, by just over 10,000 votes, but many Republican Party officials insisted – without evidence – that there had been fraud and that Trump had been the real winner.

Electors – representatives of the winning candidate in each state – sign official documents that are sent to Congress after presidential elections.

Despite Trump's loss in Arizona, his representatives nonetheless signed documents saying he had won.

Arizona becomes fourth state to seek charges over fake electors scheme

Donald Trump has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in Arizona's 2020 fake elector case.
Donald Trump has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in Arizona's 2020 fake elector case.  © REUTERS

The fake electors strategy was allegedly part of a plan to obstruct the certification of Biden's presidential victory by Congress on January 6, 2021.

Arizona is the fourth state to seek charges against people who tried to form an alternative slate of electors, after Michigan, Georgia, and Nevada.

Meadows, Giuliani, Ellis, and Eastman have all been charged in Georgia, alongside Trump in what is probably the most explosive of the four criminal trials he faces.

Melania Trump noticeably absent at Day 1 of Republican National Convention
Melania Trump Melania Trump noticeably absent at Day 1 of Republican National Convention

Wednesday's charges come as Trump is once again running for the White House, and still baselessly insisting that he won in 2020.

Opinion polls show he is in a close race with an unpopular Biden.

As a swing state and something of a ground zero for election conspiracy theories peddled by rightwing Republicans, Arizona is once again expected to be closely contested this November when Americans head to the polls.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

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