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Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in Arizona election interference case

By Associated Press
Published: May 21, 2024, 12:25pm
3 Photos
John Eastman, center, appears during his arraignment in Maricopa County Superior, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Phoenix. Eastman pleaded not guilty on Friday to conspiracy, fraud and forgery charges for his role in the effort to overturn Donald Trump&rsquo;s loss in Arizona to Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
John Eastman, center, appears during his arraignment in Maricopa County Superior, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Phoenix. Eastman pleaded not guilty on Friday to conspiracy, fraud and forgery charges for his role in the effort to overturn Donald Trump’s loss in Arizona to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool) Photo Gallery

PHOENIX (AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani pleaded not guilty Tuesday 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 Chair 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. His and Ward’s trials are scheduled for Oct. 17, about 3 weeks before the U.S. election.

During his remote appearance, Giuliani said he did not have an attorney at this time but will. When asked by the court whether he needed counsel appointed for the arraignment, Giuliani said: “No, no, I think I am capable of handling it myself.”

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

Arizona authorities tried unsuccessfully over several weeks to serve Giuliani notice of the indictment against him. Giuliani was finally served 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 cash bond 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 bond of $10,000 as well as appear in Arizona within the next 30 days for booking procedures. “He has shown no intent to comply with the legal process in Arizona,” prosecutor Nicholas Klingerman said in asking for the bond for Giuliani.

Arizona authorities unveiled the felony charges last month against Republicans who submitted a document to Congress falsely declaring Trump, a Republican, had won Arizona. The defendants include five lawyers connected to the former president and two former Trump aides. Biden, a Democrat, won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes.

The indictment alleges Ward, a former state senator who led the GOP in Arizona from 2019 until early 2023, organized 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.

Last week, attorney 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.

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.

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The 11 people who claimed 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 asserting that 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 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 Tuesday are Giuliani; Ward; Tyler Bowyer, an executive of the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA; state Sen. 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 attorney Christina Bobb.

Two other defendants — attorney Jenna Ellis and and Michael Roman, who was Trump’s 2020 director of Election Day operations — were scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, but ultimately didn’t appear at the hearing. Their lawyers had requested postponements. It’s unclear from the court record whether the judge had ruled on that request.

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

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