Mark Meadows faces arraignment in Arizona fake Trump electors scheme

Ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is set to be arraigned Friday in an Arizona court on charges tied to the so-called fake electors plot to overturn former President Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election.

Meadows is expected to plead not guilty to engineering the scheme to falsely certify that Trump won the battleground state when it was really carried by President Joe Biden.

The nine felony charges Meadows faces, including fraud, forgery, conspiracy, are broadly similar to those filed against Trump, Meadows and other in Georgia, as well as less expansive cases filed in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Trump himself has so far not been charged in Arizona, although prosecutors say that is still possible.

The 58-page indictment charges that 11 Arizona Republican officials, joined by Meadows and six other top Trump aides, hatched the plan to claim Trump could have won the state even though officials had certified Biden as the narrow victor.

Trump’s team hoped to gin up slates of fake electors in several states to introduce doubt about Biden’s win and give GOP lawmakers ammunition to refuse to certify his win on Jan. 6, 2021. When this and similar efforts failed, thousands of pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol in an effort to physically prevent Congress from acting.

The Arizona arraignment of Meadows and 17 other Republicans is a reminder that the effort to hold Trump’s team accountable for trying to stay in power after losing is still moving forward despite the lack of visible progress in other cases.

In Georgia, an expected trial on racketeering charges has been postponed indefinitely while an appeals court considers whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed from the case for having an affair with a top fellow prosecutor on the case.

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case against Trump is also on hold while a string of courts has considered the ex-president’s claim of blanket immunity for any criminal acts committed in office.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a final ruling on the immunity claim by the end of the month, which could either allow the Smith case to move forward, scrap it altogether or order more legal wrangling on the issue.

Trump’s federal trial on charges related to his taking hundreds of classified documents when he left the White House in also on hold indefinitely as U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon has refused to even set a trial date.

Trump faces a July 11 sentencing after he was convicted in the Manhattan hush money case, which prosecutors successfully argued was tied to a scheme to influence the 2016 election that he won.