Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Meadows, Giuliani, and 16 Other Trump Allies Indicted in Arizona for “Fake Electors” Scheme

Indictment labels Trump as “Unindicted Co-conspirator #1” at center of Arizona fake electors scheme.

Arizona AG Kris Mayes
Photo: Gage Skidmore

In a damning indictment, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mark Meadows, and several others who enabled Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results have been charged in Arizona. They stand accused, along with the so-called “fake electors” who brazenly attempted to keep Trump in power despite his clear loss in the state. This indictment exposes the lengths to which Trump and his allies went to subvert the will of Arizona voters and undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

At the center of this indictment is a plot hatched by Donald Trump, labeled as “Unindicted Co-conspirator 1” in the indictment. Unwilling to accept the reality of his defeat at the hands of President Joe Biden, Trump and his accomplices concocted a scheme to falsely claim victory in Arizona and other key swing states using fake electors.

The Arizona indictment unveils a sweeping array of nine charges against Trump’s allies, ranging from conspiracy and forgery to engaging in brazen fraudulent schemes. While portions remain redacted, obscuring the specific charges faced by Meadows, Epshteyn, and Giuliani, the indictment exposes the coordinated efforts to undermine democracy using fake electors. 

A total of 35 individuals now face criminal charges for their roles as “fake electors” across Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona. These individuals all signed fake electors certificates falsely declaring Trump the victor in their states’ elections, a coordinated attempt to undermine the 2020 election.

Fake Electors and Jan. 6

The indictment paints a disturbing picture of a coordinated effort to deceive the citizens of Arizona by fraudulently claiming that the votes cast by the “fake electors” were merely contingent upon a legal challenge that could potentially overturn the election results. However, the truth is far more insidious: the defendants intended for the fake electors to be a part of an effort to pressure Vice President Mike Pence into rejecting the legitimate Biden-Harris electoral votes on January 6, 2021, regardless of the outcome of any legal challenge.

Among the high-profile defendants ensnared in this web of deceit are Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, and Rudy Giuliani, the disgraced former mayor of New York City who served as Trump’s personal lawyer. Also facing charges are Boris Epshteyn, a former White House aide and one of Trump’s closest advisers, as well as attorneys John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, and Christina Bobb, who played pivotal roles in devising and executing the fake electors scheme.

The indictment is a damning testament to the lengths to which Trump and his loyalists were willing to go to cling to power, even at the expense of undermining the sacred principles of democracy. While Trump himself has not been charged in Arizona, his fingerprints are all over this plot. The indictment explicitly refers to him as “Unindicted Co-conspirator 1,” a stark acknowledgment of his central role in orchestrating these crimes.

“While some may question the pace of this investigation, I make no apologies,” declared Kris Mayes, Arizona’s Democratic Attorney General, in a firm statement. “The forces seeking to dismantle our democracy are relentless, and we must meet their assault with unwavering resolve. As I have stated before, and will reaffirm today, I will not allow the sacred principles of American democracy to be undermined by those who seek to reject the will of the people. The integrity of our elections is paramount, and I will defend it at all costs.”

“We intend to prove these crimes were committed beyond a reasonable doubt” said Mayes. 

Top Arizona Republicans Charged

Among those facing charges are individuals who once held positions of trust and authority within the Republican Party apparatus in Arizona. Kelli Ward, a former state party chairwoman, and Greg Safsten, the former executive director of the state party, were implicated in this indictment. In addition, State Senators Anthony Kern and Jake Hoffman are facing criminal charges.

While election deniers like Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor in 2022, and her ally Mark Finchem, who lost the race for Arizona Secretary of State, have not fared well at the polls, their grip on the state’s Republican Party remains disturbingly tight. The recent installation of Gina Swoboda, a fervent Trump supporter who runs a nonprofit group that has peddled baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, as the party’s new leader, serves as a chilling reminder of the challenges that lie ahead to protect democracy.