Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies plead not guilty to alleged electoral conspiracy

  • By Ana Faguy
  • BBC News, Washington

Image source, Brandon Bell

Rudy Giuliani has pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges for helping carry out a “false elector” scheme to falsely declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election in Arizona.

Nearly a dozen other allies of the former president also pleaded not guilty to state charges of conspiracy and fraud on Tuesday.

Giuliani appeared remotely and without a lawyer at the hearing, where his trial date was set for October.

Trump was not charged in the case.

The bankrupt Giuliani, once Trump’s lawyer, said he was “capable of handling” the Arizona hearing himself and did not want a court-appointed lawyer.

After he pleaded not guilty, prosecutors told the judge that he had evaded attempts to serve him an official court summons for weeks. Giuliani finally received the court papers on Friday, when they were delivered to him after his 80th birthday party.

Because of that, the judge said Giuliani would have to appear in person in Arizona within the next 30 days to perform booking procedures, such as taking a mugshot.

He will also have to post a $10,000 secured appearance bond. Bail bonds are often required of defendants considered a flight risk: those who may flee the state or country to avoid prosecution.

That connection could prove difficult for Giuliani, who filed for bankruptcy last year after losing a $148 million defamation lawsuit.

In total, Arizona has charged 18 Republicans for allegedly claiming that Trump won the state in 2020, when in reality the Democratic candidate, President Joe Biden, won by more than 10,000 votes. It follows Georgia, Michigan and Nevada in prosecuting Republican officials for allegedly trying to thwart Biden’s 2020 victory and illegally keeping Trump in office.

The state says 11 Republicans charged Tuesday submitted a document to Congress claiming, falsely, that they were Arizona’s true electors and saying they would cast the state’s electoral votes for Donald Trump.

Among them were Kelli Ward, former chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and her husband Michael Ward, who have pleaded not guilty.

While the state has not charged Trump, he is believed to be one of the unindicted accomplices listed in the sweeping indictment released last month.

Four other high-profile officials, including Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, are expected to appear in court in June. Attorney John Eastman was indicted last week and also pleaded not guilty.

Image source, Brandon Bell

Screenshot, Kelli Ward is the former chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party.