/ Modified apr 24, 2024 5:40 p.m.

Arizona grand jury indicts 11 Republicans who falsely declared Trump won the state in 2020

Seven others were indicted, but their names were blacked out of records released by Attorney General Kris Mayes.

ballot postal bins Postal bins with tags for ballots in the 2020 general election.
Courtesy Maricopa County Elections Department

This story has been updated to include a statement from Jake Hoffman.

By Jacques Billeaud and Josh Kelety, Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Eleven Republicans who submitted a document to Congress falsely declaring that Donald Trump beat Joe Biden in Arizona in the 2020 presidential election were charged Wednesday with conspiracy, fraud, and forgery, marking the fourth state to bring charges against “fake electors.”

The eleven people who had been nominated to be Arizona’s Republican electors met in Phoenix on Dec. 14, 2020, to sign a certificate saying they were “duly elected and qualified” electors and claimed Trump had carried the state. The document was later sent to Congress and the National Archives, where it was ignored.

According to Attorney General Kris Mayes the 11 people indicted were: Kelli Ward, Tyler Bowyer, Nancy Cottle, Jacob Hoffman, Anthony Kern, James Lamon, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Moorhead, Lorraine Pellegrino, Gregory Safsten, and Michael Ward.

A news release from Mayes said the charges include fraud, forgery, and conspiracy. Those are class 2, 4, and 5 felonies.

Seven others were indicted, but their names were blacked out of records released by the Attorney General.

State Sen. Jake Hoffman, who was indicted, released a statement through an attorney after the indictment was announced. He accused Mayes of "the naked weaponization of government."

"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,” said Hoffman. “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."

Biden won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes. Of the eight lawsuits that unsuccessfully challenged his victory in the state, one was filed by the 11 Republicans who would later sign the certificate declaring Trump as the winner. Days after that lawsuit was dismissed, they participated in the certificate signing.

The Arizona charges come after a string of indictments against fake electors in Nevada, Michigan, and Georgia.

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