US politics: Ex-Trump confidante charged with election fraud in Arizona

According to media reports, the accused include Trump's ex-lawyer Giuliani and his former chief of staff Meadows. According to the indictment, their goal: to keep Trump in office despite his 2020 election defeat.

Several former confidants of ex-US President Donald Trump have been charged in the state of Arizona in connection with attempted influence on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The defendants, including Trump's former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and his ex-lawyer Rudy Giuliani, are accused of, among other things, conspiracy and fraud. Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced the charges on Wednesday evening (local time), US media reported.

The defendants conspired to prevent the lawful handover of the presidency to election winner Joe Biden and to keep the “unindicted co-conspirator” in office against the will of Arizona voters, the indictment said. This means Trump, wrote US media.

Boris Epshteyn is one of Trump's closest advisors

Although the names of the accused are blacked out until the indictment is served on them, the people can be clearly identified based on the descriptions in the document. Boris Epshteyn, one of Trump's closest legal advisors, is also among the defendants. Epshteyn does not represent Trump in any of the current proceedings against the ex-president, but played a “decisive role” in hiring many of Trump's lawyers, CNN reported. Representatives of several defendants dismissed the charges as “politically motivated,” according to the Washington Post.

At least eleven named people were also charged. They used forged documents to pose as electors in order to vote for Trump, CNN reported. According to media reports, Arizona is the fourth US state in which such false voters have been charged.

Several cases against Trump

Trump, who wants to return to the White House after the presidential election in November, is currently indicted in criminal cases in several states. In the US capital Washington, federal charges were brought against him in connection with attempted election fraud and the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. If convicted, he could face decades in prison. First, the Supreme Court will decide on Thursday whether Trump may be immune from prosecution in the case.