State of Arizona

Arizona 2020 Trump Fake Electors Indictment

Arizona v. Ward

Indictment by the state of Arizona charging 18 individuals with felonies for their involvement with Arizona’s 2020 fake electors scheme. The indictment alleges that a slate of Republicans engaged in a conspiracy with the goal of preventing the transfer of power and keeping former President Donald Trump (R) in office “against the will of Arizona voters.”

The defendants include Trump Allies John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, Rudy Guilliani, Mark Meadows, Mike Roman, Jenna Ellis and Christina Bobb.  The document also charges 11 Republicans who falsely claimed to be electors for the 2020 Presidential and Vice Presidential contest: Former Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward, State Sen. Jake Hoffman, State Sen. Anthony Kern, RNC Committeeman Tyler Bower, Nancy Cottle, James Lamon, Robert Montogmery, Samuel Moorhead, Lorraine Pelligrino, Gregory Safsten and Michael Ward.

Trump himself is not charged, but he is described as “unindicted coconspirator 1.” 

The indictment includes nine felony counts for: 

  • Conspiracy (Count 1);  
  • Fraudulent schemes and artifices (Count 2);  
  • Fraudulent schemes and practices (Count 3) and 
  • Forgery (Counts 4-9). 

The document outlines a timeline of events in the aftermath of the 2020 general election wherein the defendants raised false claims of fraud, filed numerous lawsuits, pressured election officials and ultimately attempted to reject legitimate votes and declare Trump the winner of the 2020 election. 

The document alleges that the defendants and unindicted co-conspirators and others pressured three groups of election officials (Maricopa Board of Supervisors, Arizona Legislature and former Gov.Doug Ducey (R) to encourage them to change the election results. Upon these efforts failing, they “falsely claim[ed] to be the ‘duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States from the State of Arizona.”” 

The filing describes the “Fake Electors Scheme” beginning as early as Nov. 3, 2020 with a series of texts and memos that suggested Republicans could send their own slate of electors for certification on Jan. 6, 2021. 

According to the indictment,  Dec. 23, 2020,  Eastman wrote a memo detailing a scenario for Jan. 6, 2021 where he recommended that Pence not certify the state’s Democratic electors. From there, the scheme developed: “The Arizona Republican electors met on December 14, 2020, at the Arizona Republican Party Headquarters, posting a picture to twitter.com,” the indictment reads. The group of fake electors “voted” for Trump and Pence on Dec. 14, 2020. The electors did not withdraw their votes even after legal challenges failed to change the outcome of Arizona’s 2020 Presidential Election according to the document. 

The defendants and unindicted coconspirators allegedly “deceived the public with false claims of election fraud in order to prevent the lawful transfer of the presidency, to keep Unindicted Coconspirator 1 in office against the will of Arizona’s voters, and deprive Arizona voters of their right to vote and have their votes counted. By sending in false electoral votes, they obtained a benefit under Arizona law by creating the opportunity for Pence to reject the legitimate certified Democratic elector votes for Biden-Harris and declare Unindicted Coconspirator 1 the winner of the 2020 Presidential election.” 

STATUS: An arraignment hearing was held on May 21, 2024 for 11 defendants. All 11 defendants pleaded not guilty. Arraignments are scheduled for June 6 for state Sen. Hoffman; on June 7 for Meadows; and on June 18 for Epshteyn and Lamon.

Prominent Figures

On May 17, Eastman pleaded not guilty.

On May 21, Guiliani pleaded not guilty and was ordered to post a $10,000 bail bond and come to Arizona for booking within 30 days.

On May 21, Bobb pleaded not guilty.

On May 21, Ward pleaded not guilty.

Case Documents

Last updated: