Meadows, Giuliani, 11 'fake electors' face charges in Arizona A grand jury in Arizona has indicted a slew of Trump allies for their efforts to try to keep him in power after the 2020 election. Arizona is now the fourth state where "fake electors" face charges.

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Meadows, Giuliani, 11 'fake electors' from 2020 are among those indicted in Arizona

Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks during a forum on Nov. 14, 2022. Meadows has been indicted in Arizona for his alleged efforts to keep former President Donald Trump in power. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks during a forum on Nov. 14, 2022. Meadows has been indicted in Arizona for his alleged efforts to keep former President Donald Trump in power.

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PHOENIX — An Arizona grand jury has indicted a slew of allies of former President Donald Trump for their efforts to try to keep him in power after the 2020 election.

Eleven defendants submitted documentation falsely claiming Trump, not President Biden, won the state's popular vote in 2020. Seven others were indicted for their broader involvement in post-election activities.

Those seven are former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, along with 2020 Trump campaign lawyers and aides Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, Christina Bobb, Jenna Ellis and Michael Roman.

The 11 so-called "fake electors" had their names released Wednesday, while the seven others had their names redacted until they had been served. NPR was able to identify some of them Wednesday, based on information included in the indictment. The remaining names were released Friday.

The indictment from Attorney General Kris Mayes includes nine criminal counts, including felony fraud, forgery and conspiracy.

"The people of Arizona elected President Biden," Mayes says in a video statement. "Unwilling to accept this fact, the defendants charged by the state grand jury allegedly schemed to prevent the lawful transfer of the presidency."

She adds: "I will not allow American democracy to be undermined. It's too important."

The indictment also cites five unindicted co-conspirators, including "a former president of the United States who spread false claims of election fraud following the 2020 election" — Trump — and former members of the Arizona Legislature.

Arizona is now the 4th state where "fake electors" have been charged

Then-Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward is seen at a rally on Nov. 7, 2022 in Prescott, Ariz. Ward has now been indicted on state charges for her role as a so-called "fake elector" for Donald Trump. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Then-Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward is seen at a rally on Nov. 7, 2022 in Prescott, Ariz. Ward has now been indicted on state charges for her role as a so-called "fake elector" for Donald Trump.

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The indictment makes Arizona the fourth state where charges have been brought against individuals involved in "fake elector" schemes that sought to undermine Biden's victory over Trump.

Prosecutors in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada have already charged individuals accused of participating in similar schemes in those states. In another swing state, Wisconsin, fake electors admitted to their roles as part of civil settlements.

The slate of fake electors charged in Arizona includes several influential Republicans, including sitting state Sens. Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern. Former Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, former party Executive Director Greg Safsten and RNC Committeeman Tyler Bowyer also signed documents transmitted to the federal government. Bowyer is also an executive with Turning Point Action, the advocacy arm of an Arizona-based right wing group founded by Trump ally Charlie Kirk.

Others indicted are Nancy Cottle, James Lamon, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Moorhead, Lorraine Pellegrino and Michael Ward.

Hoffman quickly responded to the charges, saying in a statement: "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."

The Arizona Republican Party also condemned the charges, saying in a statement that "they do nothing but undermine the trust in our state's legal processes and are clearly designed to silence dissent and weaponize the law against political opponents."

AG Mayes urged patience with charges

The indictments mark a significant step forward in an investigation that began a year ago after Mayes, a Democrat who was elected attorney general in 2022 by just 280 votes, took office in early 2023.

Some Democrats criticized Mayes over the pace of that investigation, which proceeded largely behind closed doors as grand juries in other states indicted alleged participants in the fake electors scheme.

But Mayes urged patience, pointing out that she took office after many of the officials pursuing the case in other states. Her predecessor, Republican Mark Brnovich, did not investigate the case.

"The investigators and attorneys assigned to this case took the necessary time to thoroughly piece together the details of the events that began nearly four years ago," Mayes says in the video.

There were signs the case was picking up steam in recent months, though. In December, the investigators met with former Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro, a lead architect of the fake elector scheme who's pleaded guilty to a felony charge in Georgia.

Trump himself faces charges in Georgia, as do Meadows, Giuliani, Eastman and Roman, among others. Ellis also pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case. Bobb, a former OAN reporter, now works for the Republican National Committee on "election integrity" issues.

The Arizona indictment comes as Trump faces jurors in a hush money case in New York City. Trump is the first former president to be charged criminally.

Correction April 26, 2024

An earlier version of this story said Tyler Bowyer is an executive with Turning Point USA. He's an executive with Turning Point Action.