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Published on May 22, 2024
Ballot Bamboozlers Plead Not Guilty, Giuliani, Arizona GOP Bigs Snub Fake Elector ChargesSource: Unsplash/Tingey Injury Law Firm

Eleven individuals charged in the Arizona fake elector scheme affirmed their innocence in court on Tuesday, facing allegations of a conspiracy to overturn President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral triumph. Among those pleading not guilty in the Maricopa County Superior Court were Trump's attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Christina Bobb, State Sen. Anthony Kern, and ex-Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward, as reported by AZPM News.

Additional defendants who entered not guilty pleas on May 21 include several high-profile Republicans, such as Tyler Bowyer, RNC national committeeman, and COO for Turning Point Action; Gregory Saftsten, former director for the Arizona GOP; and Nancy Cottle, a key party committee member. Trump lawyer John Eastman, who had previously avowed his non-guilt on May 17, and notable figures like former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, are set to appear in court at a later date.

According to the indictment, these individuals attempted to subvert the will of Arizona voters by transmitting fraudulent documents that declared Trump the victor in the state, rejecting the actual popular vote outcome. They were released on their own recognizance, barring Giuliani, who was asked to post a $10,000 secured appearance bond due to alleged evasion from process servers, as described by prosecutor Nicholas Klingerman.

Giuliani, who conducted his court appearance over the phone, dismissed the accusations as a political play to tarnish Trump, now a presidential candidate in the 2024 election. "I do consider this indictment a complete embarrassment to the American legal system," Giuliani expressed. Defense attorney Brad Miller, representing the Wards, declared no remorse for his clients' actions, insisting on their right to freedom of speech and to question governmental accountability.

Nicholas Klingerman, the prosecutor in the case, countered the defendants' claims of political bias and infringement on freedom of speech, emphasizing that the charges came from "an independent grand jury, who chose to issue indictments." The offenses include conspiracy, fraud, and forgery, aiming to hold these individuals accountable for their attempt to disrupt the democratic process. Giuliani's claim of not hiding from law enforcement, citing his numerous public appearances, did not sway Commissioner Shellie Smith, who imposed the bond condition.