Key figure in fake Trump elector scheme to meet Arizona investigators

Stacey Barchenger
Arizona Republic
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Nevada this week became the third state to bring criminal charges against electors who falsely claimed Donald Trump won the White House in 2020, adding public pressure on Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes to follow suit.

Mayes' investigation of people who claimed Trump won Arizona in a scheme to change the election result is ongoing. The Democratic state prosecutor has kept details of the probe and its scope cloaked.

Asked about the Nevada indictment and status of Arizona's inquiry on Thursday, Mayes' spokesperson Richie Taylor declined to comment.

The investigation is likely to take a step forward Monday, when former Trump campaign attorney Kenneth Chesebro is expected to meet with state investigators, according to a report in The Washington Post.

Chesebro wrote memos that outlined how electors could cast votes for Trump, despite his loss in several states.

His cooperation in Georgia and Nevada has been seen as crucial to making those cases against so-called fake electors. Chesebro was charged in Georgia and pleaded guilty for his role, and he was a witness before the Nevada grand jury that handed up indictments against six electors on Wednesday, including the state GOP chair.

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Chesebro's attorney, Robert Langford of Las Vegas, deferred most questions about Chesebro's role in Arizona's case to Mayes' office.

"I'll reiterate what I have said in the past, which is my client will travel anywhere in the United States to tell the truth about what took place prior to Jan. 6 with the Trump campaign," Langford told The Arizona Republic. "As far as, you know, what his role in all of that was, he played a very limited role in their overall plan to use an alternate slate of electors."

Chesebro is also represented by Phoenix attorney Rhonda Neff in the Arizona case, Langford said.

Trump electors met in seven battleground states after the 2020 presidential election and sent certificates to Congress claiming Trump won in what federal prosecutors have called an effort to overturn the election result. By 10,457 votes, Arizonans elected Democrat Joe Biden that year, meaning the state's 11 electoral college votes went to the Democrat and helped push Biden to victory.

Mayes has said repeatedly that her investigation may take longer than other states because of the comparably short time she has been in office. She was sworn in Jan. 2 and replaced former Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who was term-limited and often criticized for fostering mistrust of elections.

Prosecutors in three states — Nevada, Michigan and Georgia — have filed criminal charges against Trump electors. Georgia's case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, is broadest. It charges others, including Trump and several of his attorneys, engaged in a conspiracy to overturn the election result.

Chesebro pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit filing false documents in Georgia in exchange for his testimony against other defendants. Trump is also facing federal charges alleging he led a plot to steal the election from Biden, including through the fake elector scheme in the battleground states.

The fake electors in Arizona were: Tyler Bowyer, an executive with Turning Point USA and a committeeman for the Republican National Committee; Nancy Cottle, who chaired the Arizona Trump electors; lawmaker Jake Hoffman; state Sens. Anthony Kern; Jim Lamon, a failed U.S. Senate candidate; Robert Montgomery of the Cochise County Republican Committee; Samuel Moorhead of the Gila County Republican Party; Loraine Pellegrino, the secretary of the Arizona Trump electors; Greg Safsten, former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party; Kelli Ward, the state GOP chair at the time; and Michael Ward, her husband and a GOP activist.

Reach reporter Stacey Barchenger at or 480-416-5669.

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