11 Arizona ‘fake electors,’ other former Trump officials indicted in election scheme (2024)

By Peter Valencia, Cody Lillich and The Associated Press

Published: Apr. 24, 2024 at 4:10 PM MST|Updated: 15 hours ago

PHOENIX (AZFamily/AP) — Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced grand jury indictments for 11 “fake electors” from Arizona on Wednesday along with seven other defendants, including former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who were allegedly part of an “alternate electors” scheme to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election.

The indictment said the 11 Arizonans submitted a document to Congress falsely declaring that Donald Trump beat Joe Biden in Arizona in the 2020 presidential election.

The other seven defendants’ names were redacted in the indictment because they had not yet been served with the charges.

However, Arizona’s Family determined the identities of the unnamed defendants based on the descriptions in the court paperwork.

“I will not allow American democracy to be undermined,” Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a video released by her office. “It’s too important.”

The indictments include high-profile and powerful Republicans in Arizona, including Kelli Ward, former chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and her husband Michael Ward. Two current GOP state lawmakers, Jake Hoffman from Queen Creek and Anthony Kern from Glendale, were also named in the indictment.

The group of 11 was nominated to be Arizona’s Republican electors and met in Phoenix on Dec. 14, 2020, to sign a certificate saying they were “duly elected and qualified” electors and claiming that Trump carried the state. The Arizona Republican Party posted a one-minute video of the signing ceremony on social media at the time. The document was later sent to Congress and the National Archives, where it was ignored.

The alleged phony electors are now facing felony counts of fraud, forgery and conspiracy.

11 Arizona ‘fake electors,’ other former Trump officials indicted in election scheme (1)

Sen. Hoffman released a statement shortly after the indictments were announced Wednesday afternoon:

“Before an investigation had even been conducted and with no evidence, Kris Mayes declared that she believed electors such as myself were guilty of a crime, that it was her job to get Biden re-elected, and that she would control the timing of the indictment,” Hoffman said in an emailed statement. “Now, unsurprisingly, we see that she has weaponized the once respected Attorney General’s office to deliver an indictment of her Republican political opponents years after the events at issue, long after other Democrat prosecutors made their decisions, and right before Arizona’s primary elections. 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.”

Kern, currently running for the U.S. House in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, has previously called Mayes’ investigation a “joke” and has said that he is refusing to cooperate with her office, adding that he has done nothing wrong.

The Arizona Republican Party released a statement on Wednesday evening, calling the indictments “politically motived” and said Mayes abused her power.

On Thursday, a statement was also released by attorney Kurt Altman, who’s representing eight of the 11 from Arizona.

“We are disappointed that indictments were returned against our clients. However we are encouraged that now the court process is in motion where rules govern rather than the ever-changing whims of politicians. As I’ve said before, our clients look forward to their day in court.”

Our official statement regarding AG Kris Mayes' politically motivated indictments and blatant abuse of legal authority aimed to disrupt, distract, and interfere in the 2024 election. pic.twitter.com/9WeC0wtQN0

— Republican Party of Arizona (@AZGOP) April 25, 2024

“There’s no such thing as fake electors,” Kern told Arizona’s Family in December. “If it was illegal, we wouldn’t have done it.”

Politico reported last month that those “fake electors” appeared in front of a grand jury in recent weeks and that many have pleaded the Fifth Amendment.

Who are the alleged fake electors?


  • Chair of electors
  • Subpoenaed by Jan. 6 Committee, Justice Department
  • Held roles in AZGOP Executive Committee, Maricopa Co. Republican Committee
  • First vice president of the Arizona Federation of Republican Women in 2020


  • Secretary of electors
  • Former president of Ahwatukee Republican Women
  • Subpoenaed by Jan. 6 Committee, Justice Department


  • Chief operating officer at Turning Point USA
  • Former RNC National Committeeman


  • Arizona state senator
  • Founder, Arizona Freedom Caucus
  • Chair of Senate Executive Oversight Committee


  • Arizona state senator
  • Candidate for U.S. Congress
  • Opened investigation into AG Kris Mayes


  • energy industry executive
  • Former candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022, lost in primary


  • Chairman of the Cochise County Republican Committee in 2020


  • Former second vice chair, Gila County Republican Party
  • Republican precinct committee member in Gila County


  • Worked on Blake Masters’ Senate
  • Former executive director, Arizona Republican Party
  • Previously worked for Rep. Andy Biggs and Former Rep. Matt Salmon


  • Former chair, Arizona Republican Party
  • Former Arizona state senator
  • Subpoenaed by the U.S. Justice Department


  • Husband of Kelli Ward
  • Licensed osteopathic physician
  • Subpoenaed by the U.S. Justice Department

Biden won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes. Of the eight lawsuits that unsuccessfully challenged Biden’s victory in the state, one was filed by the 11 Republicans who would later sign the certificate declaring Trump as the winner.

Their lawsuit asked a judge to de-certify the results that gave Biden his victory in Arizona and block the state from sending them to the Electoral College. In dismissing the case, U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa said the Republicans lacked legal standing, waited too long to bring their case and “failed to provide the court with factual support for their extraordinary claims.”

Days after that lawsuit was dismissed, the 11 Republicans participated in the certificate signing.

Thursday morning, House Democratic Leader Lupe Contreras released the following statement in response to the indictments:

“The 2020 election was free and fair, and won squarely by President Joe Biden. The effort to send fake alternative electors to Washington D.C. in the midst of an orchestrated and violent insurrection was a desperate, shameful and blatantly illegal attempt to hold onto power despite the will of the American people,” Contreras said.

”An empaneled Grand Jury of Arizona citizens agreed with this assessment, and we appreciate Attorney General Kris Mayes for bringing forward these indictments and for her efforts to hold accountable those who would illegally undermine our democracy and American institutions. It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that two of those indicted are currently serving in the Arizona Senate. If they had any integrity, they would resign immediately.”

Who else was investigated as part of this?

Arizona Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar were also reportedly subpoenaed by Mayes, according to Politico. In the Jan. 6 Congressional Committee’s report, they noted Biggs was “involved in numerous elements of President Trump’s efforts to contest the election results...”

Texts that Biggs reportedly sent to former President Trump’s chief of staff Meadows showed that even he called the plan to put together an alternate slate of electors “highly controversial.” Gosar also tried to challenge the state’s 2020 election results when they were up for certification in Congress.

What about the Trump officials named in the indictment?

Arizona’s Family has identified Giuliani, Meadows, ex-Trump lawyer John Eastman, and Trump 2020 campaign operative Mike Roman as the Trump allies who were also indicted, although their names have not been officially released in the latest public copy of the indictment.

Politico also named Trump’s allies in the indictment as Boris Ephsteyn, Jenna Ellis and Christina Bobb.

Pro-Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who pleaded guilty in Georgia’s election interference case, is believed to be “unindicted coconspirator 4,” Politico reported.

The Georgia indictment says that on Dec. 11, 2020, Chesebro sent an e-mail with attached documents to Gregory Safsten with the Arizona Republican Party and others. Those documents were reportedly to be used by Trump presidential elector nominees in Arizona for the purpose of casting electoral votes for Trump, despite the fact that Trump lost the election in Arizona.

Has this happened in other states?

The AP reported that Michigan’s Attorney General filed felony charges in July against 16 Republican fake electors. One had charges dropped after reaching a cooperation deal, and the 15 remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty.

In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged multiple fake electors, but later granted at least eight of the 16 electors immunity.

Then, in December 2023, a grand jury indicted six Republicans for those roles in the alleged scheme in Nevada. They have pleaded not guilty.

In Wisconsin, 10 Republicans who posed as electors settled a civil lawsuit, admitting their actions were part of an effort to overturn Biden’s victory. There is no known criminal investigation in Wisconsin.

Until now, Arizona had been the only state that still had the electors’ scheme legally unresolved.

Trump also was indicted in August in federal court over the fake electors scheme. The indictment states that when Trump was unable to persuade state officials to illegally swing the election, he and his Republican allies began recruiting a slate of fake electors in battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — to sign certificates falsely stating he, not Biden, had won their states.

In early January, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez said that the state’s five Republican electors cannot be prosecuted under the current law. In New Mexico and Pennsylvania, fake electors added a caveat saying the election certificate was submitted in case they were later recognized as duly elected, qualified electors. No charges have been filed in Pennsylvania.

What’s Next?

According to the attorney general’s office, “additional named defendants have been indicted but redacted from the attached copy.” Officials say that an unredacted version will be available after all defendants have been served. It’s not immediately clear if additional charges could be forthcoming.

Read the full indictment below

CNN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Copyright 2024 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.

11 Arizona ‘fake electors,’ other former Trump officials indicted in election scheme (2024)


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