Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty in Arizona election interference case

21 May 2024, 23:14

Rudy Giuliani
Fake Electors Indictment Giuliani. Picture: PA

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges stemming from his role in an effort to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in Arizona to Joe Biden.

Ten others, including former Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward, also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, forgery and fraud charges related to the case.

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom.

Kelli Ward
Kelli Ward (Ross D Franklin/AP)

His and Ward’s trials are scheduled for October 17, about three weeks before the US election.

The indictment alleged Giuliani spread false claims of election fraud in Arizona after the 2020 election and presided over a Phoenix gathering where he claimed officials made no effort to determine the accuracy of presidential election results.

It also accused him of pressuring Maricopa County officials and state legislators to change the outcome of Arizona’s results and encouraging Republican electors in the state to vote for Mr Trump in mid-December 2020.

During his remote appearance, Giuliani said he did not have a lawyer, and that felt capable of handling the arraignment himself.

He said he received a summons but did not have a copy of the indictment. He added he is familiar with the charges by reading about them.

Arizona authorities tried unsuccessfully over several weeks to serve Giuliani notice of the indictment against him.

Giuliani was finally served on Friday night as he was walking to a car after his 80th birthday celebration in Florida.

On Tuesday, in response to the prosecutors’ request for a 10,000 dollar (£7,869) cash bail after outlining the difficulty in serving Giuliani in the case, Giuliani said: “I have a fair number of threats including death threats, and I don’t have security anymore … so I have very strict rules about who gets up and who doesn’t.”

The judge required Giuliani to post a secured appearance bail of 10,000 dollars as well as to appear in Arizona within the next 30 days for booking procedures.

Arizona authorities unveiled the felony charges last month against Republicans who submitted a document to Congress falsely declaring Mr Trump, a Republican, had won Arizona.

The defendants include five lawyers connected to the former president and two former Trump aides.

Mr Biden, a Democrat, won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes.

The indictment alleges Ward, a former state senator who led the Republican Party in Arizona from 2019 until early 2023, organised the fake electors and urged then-vice president Mike Pence to declare them to be the state’s true electors.

It says Ward failed to withdraw her vote as a fake elector even though no legal challenges changed the outcome of the presidential race in Arizona.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump (Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

Last week, lawyer John Eastman, who devised a strategy to try to persuade Congress not to certify the election, was the first defendant in the case to be arraigned, pleading not guilty to the charges.

Mr Trump himself was not charged in the Arizona case but was referred to as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Arizona is the fourth state where allies of the former president have been charged with using false or unproven claims about voter fraud related to the election.

The 11 people who claimed to be Arizona’s Republican electors met in Phoenix on December 14 2020 to sign a certificate saying they were “duly elected and qualified” electors and asserting that Mr Trump carried the state.

A one-minute video of the signing ceremony was posted on social media by the Arizona Republican Party at the time.

The document was later sent to Congress and the National Archives, where it was ignored.

Of eight lawsuits that unsuccessfully challenged Mr Biden’s victory in the state, one was filed by the 11 fake Arizona electors, who had asked a federal judge to decertify the results and block the state from sending its results to the Electoral College.

In dismissing the case, the judge concluded the Republicans had “failed to provide the court with factual support for their extraordinary claims”.

Days after that lawsuit was dismissed, the 11 participated in the certificate signing.

The 11 people who were arraigned on Tuesday are Giuliani; Ward; Tyler Bowyer, an executive of the conservative youth organisation Turning Point USA; state senator Anthony Kern; Greg Safsten, a former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party; Robert Montgomery, a former chairman of the Cochise County Republican Committee; Samuel Moorhead, a Republican precinct committee member in Gila County; Nancy Cottle, who in 2020 was the first vice president of the Arizona Federation of Republican Women; Loraine Pellegrino, past president of the Ahwatukee Republican Women; Michael Ward, an osteopathic physician who is married to Ward; and lawyer Christina Bobb.

Two other defendants – lawyer Jenna Ellis and Michael Roman, who was Mr Trump’s 2020 director of Election Day operations – were scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, but ultimately did not appear at the hearing.

Their lawyers had requested postponements.

It is unclear from the court record whether the judge had ruled on that request.

Arraignments are scheduled for June 6 for state senator Jake Hoffman; on June 7 for former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; and on June 18 for Trump lawyer Boris Epshteyn and for James Lamon, another Republican who claimed Mr Trump carried the state.

By Press Association

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