Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty as Trump allies are arraigned in Arizona 2020 election case

A group of at least twelve individuals with close ties to former President Donald Trump faced arraignment in Phoenix on various accusations, including conspiracy, fraud, and forgery, connected to an alleged plan involving fraudulent electors in the 2020 election, despite President Biden’s victory in Arizona.

Rudy Giuliani, formerly the mayor of New York City and a lawyer for Trump, declared his innocence on nine federal counts in the case, making his plea during a remote court session. Giuliani was served with legal documents at the end of his 80th birthday celebration.

Other accused parties include Kelli Ward, ex-chair of the Arizona Republican Party; Mark Meadows, the previous White House chief of staff; lawyers Jenna Ellis and Christina Bobb; Tyler Bowyer, former director for Turning Point USA’s youth division; and various officials from the Arizona Republican state election board.

While Trump is engaged in a separate lawsuit in New York, facing 34 felony charges of business record falsification, he is not listed as a defendant in the Arizona case. However, he is mentioned in the charges as an “unindicted co-conspirator.” He has stated his innocence in the New York trial.

The indictment in Arizona purports that the defendants “intentionally made false, hidden, or altered material facts or employed any deceit, strategy, or false documentation or declaration, with the knowledge of its falsehood, especially: two certificates of votes for Donald J. Trump and Michael Pence, which the Arizona Republican electors submitted to the Secretary of State of Arizona.”

Giuliani’s spokesperson criticized the charges as being politically motivated.

“These accusations are essentially a duplicated effort of other attempts to influence the election of 2024 and to undermine President Trump and his supporters who stand against the permanent political establishment in Washington,” expressed Ted Goodman, Giuliani’s spokesperson. “Joe Biden and his allies continue to misuse the justice system in their hunger to defeat President Trump and cling to power. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, renowned as the most effective federal prosecutor in American history, awaits a full exoneration soon,” Goodman added.


Arizona Fake Electors
Kelli Ward, the former head of the Arizona Republican Party, during a media briefing at the Maricopa County Elections Department on November 18, 2020.

Ross D. Franklin / AP

The counts revolve around the false declaration sent to Congress alleging that Trump won in Arizona, despite Biden leading by over 10,000 votes. The indictment suggests Ward was the architect of the plan, which hoped for Vice President Mike Pence to acknowledge the forged certification as legitimate.

On December 14, 2020, the indictment notes that the electors convened in Phoenix and validated a certificate claiming to be Arizona’s true electors for the President and Vice President. It further claims they broadcasted a video on the same day through social media platforms stating, “We represent Arizona’s lawful voters! #Trump2020 #MAGA.”

With the announcement of indictments, Arizona’s Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, remarked, “if the plan had been successful, it would have effectively nullified the right of Arizona citizens to have their votes rightfully counted for their chosen presidential candidate.”

John Eastman, another attorney with ties to Trump, disputed charges against him for fraud, conspiracy, and forgery last Friday. He has been accused of creating the strategy to dissuade Congress from certifying the election outcomes.

In one of seven states where Trump’s loss has led to accusations of plotting alternative elector nominations for the Congressional session on January 6, 2021, defendants in Arizona, like Giuliani, Meadows, Ellis, Eastman, Michael Roman, and other key figures, also face legal challenges in Georgia related to similar alleged deceptive elector plans.

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