Yvonne Wingett Sanchez’s reporting in WaPo makes it very clear that AZ Attorney General Kris Mayes has developed the investigation of the fake elector scheme and Ward’s efforts to corruptly influence the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election in Arizona to the point that Grand Jury indictments are now all but inevitable.
The Arizona attorney general’s investigation into the coordinated attempt to overturn the 2020 election results by creating and sending documents to the federal government falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner is also zeroing in on the pressure placed on local officials by the president’s key allies to help avert his loss, according to four people familiar with the criminal probe.
Investigators for Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) have interviewed all current and former Republican members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who certified the 2020 presidential election results from the Phoenix area and came under intense pressure from Trump’s top national and local allies and angry supporters, according to the four people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive investigation. They have also interviewed former House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R), who testified last year to a House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani asked him to investigate unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and set in motion a strategy to replace chosen electors with another group more favorable to Trump.
Those familiar with the witness interviews say the new line of questioning marks the first time local prosecutors have shown interest in examining the pressure campaign and could signal that Mayes mightexpand the scope of the investigation, which thus far has narrowly focused on the 11 Arizona Republicans who falsely portrayed themselves as the state’s legitimate electors after Trump’s loss. The supervisors had little or no interaction with most of the electors.WaPo, By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, October 27, 2023
If you need a refresher as to who these fraudsters are, here’s a list compiled by the AZ Mirror:
Nancy Cottle*: Cottle is the first vice president of programs for the Arizona Federation of Republican Women. She has been active in Arizona politics for the past decade and holds various other positions on the Maricopa County Republican Committee and the AZGOP executive committee.
Loraine B. Pellegrino*: Pellegrino has served as president of Ahwatukee Republican Women.
Tyler Bowyer: Bowyer is the chief operating officer of Turning Point USA, a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization that advocates for conservative values in schools. He has previously worked for the Republican National Committee and the Maricopa County Republican Party.
Jake Hoffman: Hoffman is an Arizona state representative for the 12th District. Hoffman also runs a conservative digital marketing company, Rally Forge, that was banned from Facebook and suspended from Twitter for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on behalf of Turning Point Action, an affiliate of Turning Point USA. The company was enlisting and paying teens to share comments with right-wing opinions, including that mail-in ballots would lead to fraud and that coronavirus numbers were intentionally inflated. Experts told the Washington Post in 2020 that the effort was “among the most ambitious domestic influence campaigns uncovered this election cycle.”
Anthony T. Kern: From January 2015 until January 2021, Kern was an Arizona state representative for the 20th District. He is currently running for election to the Arizona state Senate to represent the 20th District. Kern participated in the January 6 riots in D.C. and has lied about breaching the U.S. Capitol building
James Lamon: Lamon is running for election to the U.S. Senate to represent Arizona. He is a veteran and was previously CEO of DEPCOM Power, a solar energy contractor, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Robert Montgomery: In 2020, Montgomery served as the chairman of the Cochise County Republican Committee.
Samuel I. Moorhead: Moorhead serves as the second vice chair of the Gila County Arizona Republican Party.
Greg Safsten: Safsten is the executive director of the Republican Party of Arizona. He previously worked for Rep. Andy Biggs and Rep. Matt Salmon, both of Arizona, in their U.S. House offices, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Dr. Kelli Ward: Ward is an osteopathic physician who has served as the chair of the Arizona Republican Party since 2019. Following the 2020 election, Ward aided Trump’s efforts to invalidate the election results and filed a number of lawsuits to nullify Arizona’s results. In 2016, she challenged the late U.S. Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary but lost with 39 percent of the vote. She previously served in the Arizona state Senate.
Dr. Michael Ward: Ward met his wife, Kelli Ward, while he was serving in the Arizona Air National Guard. In 2019, he was accused of spitting in the eye of a former volunteer of his wife’s when she was a candidate for Senate because the volunteer went on to support her former political foe, Martha McSally. Michael Ward denied touching, pushing, threatening or spitting on the volunteer in an email to police, according to AZ Central.
(A * indicates a person who was listed as chairperson or secretary of their state group and who was subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 committee.)AZ Mirror, by KIRA LERNER , FEBRUARY 1, 2022
One of the great disadvantages (and blessings…) of our having a great deal of constitutional boundaries around our criminal process is that it can be incredibly slow. Felonious public figures like Ward can rampage around in public, lying and spinning for years before accountability from our system of criminal justice actually catches up to them. We are all getting a taste of that frustration and it’s apotheosis with Trump and his cronies and willing dupes, like Ward.
As a former prosecutor, I am acutely aware of the need for deliberate investigation, development of the evidence, quietly dealing with potential witnesses and co-conspirators, and ensuring that one can bring a case successfully to a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt before making a charging decision – especially in the case of a public figure, lest one pratfall in court and bring yourself and, more importantly, our system of justice into disrepute.
The public simply doesn’t have such an awareness of how difficult and ethically fraught it can be to bring a case of public corruption and/or criminal behavior by a public figure to a successful final outcome – all they see for a long time is inaction and lack of comment or condemnation by those entrusted with enforcing our laws. Such a deafening silence can seem very much like indifference and inaction – even acceptance or condonement – of intolerable behavior.
But the press and those not directly involved who have such an awareness are under no such restraints. The media can and must be more forward in calling out unacceptable, unethical, corrupt, and criminal behavior by public officials than they generally have been over the past several years. There is a reason the media is sometimes referred to as the guardians of our liberty – our last line of defense as a free people is our First Amendment rights to speak and publish. But in this era where we have a media culture that is still steeped in a narrative that there is a good case to be made on both sides of every public issue, the media need to reevaluate that framing: it no longer applies to the mass criminal and anti-democratic conspiracy that is the MAGA movement that Trump has built around himself.
The media needs to be much quicker to draw conclusions and condemn as unacceptable certain behaviors in public conduct: denying the validity of our elections, attacking our democratic norms and laws, deliberate lies – especially about our democratic processes and institutions, and likely criminal behavior by MAGA (and all other) public officials.
The MAGA movement does not deserve and should not be protected by the journalist’s ‘both-sides are valid’ framing. The media must begin to recognize that MAGAs aren’t just a political movement; they are an anti-American movement advocating fascism, theocracy, hatred, bigotry, racism, and terroristic acts. MAGA has no coherent vision for – nor interest in – governing the democratic pluralistic society that is America. It is only interested in imposing upon Americans by force and law a vision of our nation that is religiously, sexually, ethnically, and racially homogenous – an exclusionary and violent fascist vision.
We Democrats also must insist on accountability, be steadfast in our convictions, and never fear to call a fascist a fascist, a criminal a criminal, and a traitor a traitor.
Kelli Ward and the other MAGA cultists of Arizona are fascist, criminal traitors to America. And American justice is coming for them.