Meadows, Giuliani, 11 ‘fake electors’ from 2020 are among those indicted in Arizona

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping on legal challenges to vote counting in Pennsylvania, Nov. 7, 2020, in Philadelphia

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping on legal challenges to vote counting in Pennsylvania, Nov. 7, 2020, in Philadelphia. (John Minchillo/AP)

An Arizona grand jury has indicted a slew of allies of former President Donald Trump for their efforts to try to keep him in power after the 2020 election.

Eleven people who submitted documentation falsely claiming Trump, not President Biden, won the state’s popular vote in 2020 are named in the indictment. Seven others were indicted but had their names redacted.

Those seven include former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.

NPR was able to identify them based on information included in the indictment, such as one defendant being “often identified as ‘the Mayor.’ ” Giuliani was a mayor of New York City.

The identities of other defendants need to be confirmed. According to a news release from Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, “[a]n unredacted version of the indictment will be made available after all defendants have been served.”

The indictment includes nine criminal counts, including felony fraud, forgery and conspiracy.

“The people of Arizona elected President Biden,” Mayes says in a video statement. “Unwilling to accept this fact, the defendants charged by the state grand jury allegedly schemed to prevent the lawful transfer of the presidency.”

She adds: “I will not allow American democracy to be undermined. It’s too important.”

The indictment also cites five unindicted co-conspirators, including “a former president of the United States who spread false claims of election fraud following the 2020 election” — Trump — and former members of the Arizona Legislature.

Arizona is now the 4th state where ‘fake electors’ have been charged

The indictment, which Mayes released Wednesday, makes Arizona the fourth state where charges have been brought against individuals involved in so-called “fake elector” schemes that sought to undermine Biden’s victory over Trump.

Prosecutors in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada have already charged individuals accused of participating in similar schemes in those states. In another swing state, Wisconsin, fake electors admitted to their roles as part of civil settlements.

The slate of fake electors charged in Arizona includes several influential Republicans, including sitting state Sens. Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern. Former Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, former party Executive Director Greg Safsten and RNC Committeeman Tyler Bowyer also signed documents transmitted to the federal government. Bowyer is also an executive with Turning Point USA, an Arizona-based right wing advocacy group founded by Trump ally Charlie Kirk.

Others indicted are Nancy Cottle, James Lamon, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Moorhead, Lorraine Pellegrino and Michael Ward.

Hoffman quickly responded to the charges, saying in a statement: “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.”

AG Mayes urged patience with charges

The indictments mark a significant step forward in an investigation that began a year ago after Mayes, a Democrat who was elected attorney general in 2022 by just 280 votes, took office in early 2023.

Some Democrats criticized Mayes over the pace of that investigation, which proceeded largely behind closed doors as grand juries in other states indicted alleged participants in the fake electors scheme.

But Mayes urged patience, pointing out that she took office after many of the officials pursuing the case in other states. Her predecessor, Republican Mark Brnovich, did not investigate the case.

“The investigators and attorneys assigned to this case took the necessary time to thoroughly piece together the details of the events that began nearly four years ago,” Mayes says in the video.

There were signs the case was picking up steam in recent months, though. In December, the investigators met with former Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro, a lead architect of the fake elector scheme who’s pleaded guilty to a felony charge in Georgia.

Trump himself faces charges in Georgia, as do Meadows, Giuliani and Eastman, among others.

The Arizona indictment comes as Trump faces jurors in a hush money case in New York City. Trump is the first former president to be charged criminally.

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