Who are the 11 Arizona fake electors facing criminal charges for claiming Donald Trump won in 2020?

Eleven Republicans who signed documents falsely claiming that Donald Trump won the state in 2020 are facing criminal consequences in Arizona for the first time. 

A state grand jury on Wednesday issued an indictment in which the electors are each charged with nine criminal counts, including conspiracy, fraudulent schemes and artifices, fraudulent schemes and practices, and six counts of forgery.

The indictment names the 11 Republican electors, and the names of seven other defendants are redacted. Those individuals have not yet been served, but details in the indictment make clear they include top Trump aides, including Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows.

These are the 11 Arizonans who signed documents claiming to be legitimate electors for Trump, though Democrat Joe Biden won Arizona’s votes in the electoral college. Each is charged with the above counts.

Dig deeper: Learn more about Arizona’s fake electors

Tyler Bowyer

Bowyer is the chief operating officer at Turning Point USA, a Phoenix-based nonprofit with a similarly named political advocacy arm. The nonprofit got its start advocating for conservative politics at high schools and universities, but it and its affiliated organizations have grown to become influential in the conservative culture wars. They have also drawn controversy for spreading false information, including about elections.

Bowyer is a committeeman for the Republican National Committee. He told The Arizona Republic in 2022 about the so-called fake elector plot, that he didn’t know “all the details and facts” but confirmed he was an elector for the state GOP. 

Nancy Cottle

Cottle chaired the Arizona Trump electors.

She was also subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Cottle has served on the Arizona GOP Executive Committee and Maricopa County Republican Committee. She led the Pledge of Allegiance at a rally for former President Donald Trump in January 2022 in Florence, Ariz.

Jake Hoffman

Hoffman, of Queen Creek, is a state senator first elected to the Legislature in 2020. He is the founder of the Arizona Freedom Caucus, the political coalition that includes the state’s most conservative lawmakers. Many of those lawmakers are aligned with Trump and the group generally supports conservative policies on social issues.

Hoffman is a top antagonist of Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and is no stranger to criticizing Republicans he views as too moderate. 

He announced earlier this year he would run to represent Arizona on the Republican National Committee, and he is seeking another term representing Legislative District 15 in the Arizona Senate, which includes Queen Creek, San Tan Valley and a portion of Mesa. He runs or has ownership shares of several marketing and advertising businesses, including one that was exposed years ago as a social media “troll farm” that spread disinformation.

He has largely avoided reporters’ questions about the electors, saying in 2022 that they wanted to provide Congress and Vice President Mike Pence with “dueling opinions,” and earlier this year alleged Attorney General Kris Mayes was “corrupt” and using the office to “persecute their political enemies.”

Learn more about the indictment: Grand jury indicts fake electors who falsely certified Donald Trump as 2020 winner

Anthony Kern

Kern, a state senator from Glendale, was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when it was breached by rioters and is an ardent Trump supporter. First elected to the Arizona Legislature in 2015, he is now running for a seat in Congress in a packed GOP primary. 

He was fired a decade ago from the El Mirage Police Department in Phoenix’s northwest suburbs for lying to a supervisor after a string of disciplinary issues and put on a roll of officers accused of dishonesty called the Brady list.

Kern has brushed off questions about the electors’ case, saying he didn’t need a lawyer. Last month, on the plaza outside a Maricopa County courthouse, Kern decried the investigation as a “weaponization of our government” that he said was motivated by an attempt to bankrupt him and keep him from Congress.

Jim Lamon

Lamon ran to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate in 2022 but lost in the GOP primary. 

He is the founder of Scottsdale-based Depcom Power, a solar engineering and construction company that employed 1,600 people across the nation before he sold the business. Lamon, a steady financial supporter of Republican causes and candidates, helped bankroll security for the Arizona Senate’s much-criticized review of ballots cast in 2020. 

In 2022, Lamon claimed during an interview with KTVK-TV in Phoenix that the electors were part of a backup plan in case Trump’s election fraud claims proved successful. 

“The Republican electors put forth a valid document that said, in the event that the election certification was overturned, there would be no excuse not to recognize those electors,” Lamon said.

 The documents themselves did not include such conditional language, however.

Robert Montgomery

Montgomery is a former head of the Cochise County Republican Committee. He led GOP leadership in Arizona’s rural southeast corner until he was defeated by a surprise challenger in December 2022. Montgomery has supported hand-counting ballots and pushed county leaders to ignore warnings about doing so before the 2022 election. 

Samuel Moorhead

Moorhead was the second vice chair of the Gila County Republican Party when he signed as a Trump elector, a ranking but not top position in the local Republican Party in one of Arizona’s rural counties northeast of metro Phoenix.

Moorhead served 17 years on the board of the Gila County Provisional Community College District before resigning in October to move closer to his daughter and grandson elsewhere in Arizona, according to meeting minutes.

Loraine Pellegrino

Pellegrino was secretary for the Arizona Trump electors and has a long history of leadership in state GOP politics. She has led two conservative groups, the Arizona Federation of Republican Women, and the Ahwatukee Republican Women’s Club, and was a delegate to Republican National Committee conventions in 2012, 2016 and 2020. 

Pellegrino was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. She said in January 2022 the electors offered a contingency plan.

“We were electors for Trump and we were hoping things would change,” she said. “Just in case, we signed our paperwork to be ready in the event that something was overturned.”

Greg Safsten

Safsten, who has worked as an adviser to several Republican congressmen from Arizona, was executive director of the Arizona Republican Party when he signed as a Trump elector. 

According to an online biography by Legistorm, Safsten worked as a field director in 2012 for then-Congressman Matt Salmon and then took on a role as a legislative assistant. Four years later he went to work for GOP Congressman Andy Biggs’ campaign, ultimately becoming deputy chief of staff. 

Kelli Ward

Kelli Ward is a past chair of the Arizona GOP. She helped to organize the signing of the fake electors, sat at the head of the table during the “signing” video and boasted about the moment on Twitter, The Arizona Republic has previously reported. 

Ward was also subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee related to the elector scheme and exercised her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself more than 200 times when later testifying before that committee. 

She is an outspoken supporter of Trump’s and a promoter of election conspiracies who helped Trump aides in their efforts to pressure GOP leaders in Arizona and filed multiple lawsuits trying to overturn Trump’s loss in 2020. She is a former state lawmaker who twice ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.

Michael Ward

A well-known GOP activist, Michael Ward was subpoenaed by the Department of Justice in its investigation of Trump’s election interference. He has been married to Kelli Ward since 1995 and has served as her campaign manager in bids for the Arizona Legislature. 

Arizona Republic reporters Ryan Randazzo, Richard Ruelas and Robert Anglen contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Stacey Barchenger at stacey.barchenger@arizonarepublic.com or 480-416-5669

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona fake electors: Who are Republicans facing criminal charges?

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