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Giuliani, Arizona GOP leaders plead not guilty in election interference case 

The Trump attorney and former New York Mayor insisted that the indictment only serves to “destroy Donald Trump.”

PHOENIX (CN) — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani railed against his latest indictment over his role in the 2020 election in a Maricopa County courtroom Tuesday morning. 

Giuliani appeared for arraignment virtually alongside fellow Trump attorney Christina Bobb and seven so-called “fake electors” accused of conspiracy and fraud for signing a document falsely certifying Donald Trump as the winner of Arizona’s 2020 presidential election. 

“I do think this indictment is an embarrassment to the American justice system,” he said via a Microsoft Teams voice chat. “[This is the] ‘let’s see what we can do to destroy Donald Trump’ movement.”

The state grand jury indicted 18 Republicans more than a year after Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat elected in 2022, initiated an investigation into the “fake electors.” 

Prosecutors name in the indictment 11 Republican-nominated electors who convened at Arizona GOP headquarters in Phoenix one month after the 2020 election to sign a fraudulent certificate handing Arizona’s electoral votes to Trump, who lost Arizona to President Joe Biden by more than 10,000 votes. The signers identified themselves as certified state electors, even though state officials already certified the Democratic Party's nominations as the rightful electors.

State Senators Anthony Kern, who arrived late to the arraignment, iced coffee in hand, and Jake Hoffman, who will be arraigned in June, are both named as “fake electors.” 

Before each presidential election, both the Democratic and Republican parties in each state select one elector for each congressional seat that state has. Arizona has 11. Once the popular vote in the state determines a winner, the governor certifies the electors chosen by the winning party, who then cast their votes in alignment with the popular vote. 

The 11 indicted “fake electors” were chosen by the Republican Party in 2020, but weren’t certified because the candidate on the Republican ticket lost. Thus, they lacked authority to sign the certificate claiming to be electors and giving Arizona’s votes to Trump. 

Giuliani, who wasn’t one of the electors but is accused of aiding in the conspiracy, logged into the 8:30 a.m. arraignment at 9:45 a.m. and only by audio. The sound of trickling water echoed in the background of his audio. 

He said he doesn’t yet have an attorney, nor has he received a copy of the indictment. 

“I do have a general familiarity of the charges through reading,” he said. 

Giuliani was served a court summons Friday night at his 80th birthday party in Florida after he apparently evaded Arizona law enforcement for weeks, taunting agents on his podcast and via social media. 

“I’m too difficult to find. It’s hilarious,” he said on his podcast earlier this month. 

Friday night, Giuliani posted a selfie to X, formerly Twitter, depicting him at his party. The post read: “If Arizona authorities can’t find me by tomorrow morning: 1. They must dismiss the indictment; 2. They must concede they can’t count votes.”

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes reposted Giuliani’s jab only an hour later, adding: “The final defendant was served moments ago. @RudyGiuliani nobody is above the law.”

State prosecutor Nicholas Klingerman said agents tried to serve him in his Manhattan condo a week prior but weren’t let upstairs by Giuliani’s doorman.

Giuliani explained in court that he must keep tight security because of constant death threats and claimed that the Iranian government tried to kill him in the past. 

“He has shown no intent to comply with the legal process in Arizona,” Klingerman told the judge. He asked that Giuliani be required to book himself into the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office within 30 days on a $10,000 secured bond, to which the judge agreed.

Former Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward and her husband Michael Ward appeared in person alongside Kern and Bobb. Those who appeared virtually were Giuliani, Turning Point Action President Tyler Bowyer and notable Arizona Republicans Loraine Pellegrino, Robert Montgomery, Nancy Cottle, Samuel Moorehead and Gregory Safsten.

Trump attorney John Eastman already pleaded not guilty last week. Hoffman, former Chief of staff Mark Meadows, former U.S. Senate candidate James Lamon, Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn and former campaign aide Mike Roman will be arraigned in June. 

Discussions to use Republican electors to change the election outcome began as early as Nov. 4, 2020, according to prosecutors, who detail in the indictment memos drafted by the Trump administration that advocate for Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania to “send their own electors to vote and have it go to the SCOTUS.” 

About two dozen Arizonans protested outside the downtown Phoenix courthouse, calling the case a political stunt and insisting that “alternate electors” are a legitimate political strategy. 

Follow @JournalistJoeAZ
Categories / Courts, Elections, Government, Politics, Regional

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