Trump Escapes Arizona Felony Charges (The Same Can’t Be Said for His Pals)

Remember the 2020 election? And how Donald Trump decisively lost to Joe Biden but couldn’t accept said loss, and instead conspired with his cronies to try and steal a second term, in schemes that included fake-elector plots in several states? Well, more than three years later, some of those cronies are being held accountable by the state of Arizona.

An Arizona grand jury has indicted 18 individuals for trying to overturn the election in the state, including seven people who worked for or were affiliated with Trump. Those people include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, John Eastman, and Christina Bobb; 2020 (and 2016 and 2024) campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn; and 2020 campaign aide Mike Roman. “In Arizona, and the United States, the people elected Joseph Biden as President on November 3, 2020,” reads the indictment, which was announced Wednesday. “Unwilling to accept this fact, Defendants and unindicted coconspirators schemed to prevent the lawful transfer of the presidency” to keep Trump in power “against the will of Arizona’s voters. This scheme would have deprived Arizona voters of their right to vote and have their votes counted.” According to The Washington Post, all defendants appear to have been charged with every crime laid out in the indictment; those felonies are conspiracy, fraudulent schemes and practices, fraudulent schemes and artifices, and forgery. Fraudulent schemes and artifices, the most serious of the all the crimes, comes with a standard five-year prison sentence. In a statement, Attorney General Kris Mayes said the charges resulted from a “thorough” 13-month investigation, adding, “I will not allow American democracy to be undermined. It is too important.”

While Trump himself was not charged, he shows up as a major player in the scheme. Per the Post:

Many of those involved in the 2020 elector strategy, which played out in Arizona and six other states, have long insisted that the tactic was legal because the Trump electors were only placeholders to be activated if legal challenges to Biden’s win were successful in court. But Mayes charges that Trump’s allies inside and outside of Arizona intended all along to use the electors to falsely claim that the outcome of the election was in doubt—facilitating an effort to obstruct the certification of Biden’s victory in Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

The effort was aided by Trump, the indictment said, who “himself was unwilling to accept that he had lost the election.” While the charges focus on the elector strategy, the indictment spells out various ways that Trump and his allies sought to pressure state and local officials to “encourage them to change” the election results. Trump allies initially put pressure on members of the Phoenix-area Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the indictment said. When it became clear that the GOP-led board would not alter the results, pressure was placed on members of the state legislature—namely then House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R)—who heard from Trump and other allies. When that effort failed, Trump sought to appeal to then Arizona governor Doug Ducey (R), who ignored a call from Trump while certifying the state’s election results. That day, the indictment notes, Trump berated Ducey on social media for certifying the results.

This is not the first time Meadows, Giuliani, Ellis, Eastman, and Roman have been hit with felony charges for trying to overturn the election, having been indicted last year by the district attorney’s office in Fulton County, Georgia, which also charged Trump. In that case, Ellis pleaded guilty and has been cooperating with the DA; the other individuals have pleaded not guilty. Following the Arizona charges, an attorney for Meadows said he had not yet seen the indictment, but that if his client was charged “it is a blatantly political and politicized accusation and will be contested and defeated.” A lawyer for Eastman said his client “is innocent of criminal conduct in Arizona or any other place and will fight these charges as he has all the other unjust accusations leveled against him.” A spokesman for Giuliani claimed the indictment is evidence of the “continued weaponization of our justice system.” Epshteyn declined the Post’s request for comment. Bobb and attorneys for Roman and Ellis did not immediately respond. A spokesman for Trump called the indictment “another example of Democrats’ weaponization of the legal system.”

  • Anne Hathaway on Tuning Out the Haters and Embracing Her True Self

Related Articles

Back to top button