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Judge threatens to mute Giuliani during arraignment in Arizona fake electors case

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(PHOENIX) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, several allies of former President Donald Trump and alleged fake electors pleaded not guilty in Maricopa County court Tuesday for their alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona.

Former Trump lawyer Christina Bobb, Arizona state Sen. Anthony Kern, former Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward, and her husband Michael Ward were also among those arraigned today.

Giuliani appeared virtually after being served with notice of his indictment after his 80th birthday party on Friday night – and after boasting on social media that he had avoided being served.

The judge granted the prosecution’s motion for Giuliani’s release conditions to require the former mayor to show up in person in Arizona to be booked within 30 days, as well as a $10,000 secured appearance bond, after the state detailed to the court how Giuliani has “shown no intent to comply with legal process” after avoiding accepting service of the indictment.

Prosecutors notably asked for a cash bond, but the judge allowed Giuliani to provide a secured one.

Giuliani responded over Zoom to prosecutors, who described him as “uncooperative” and saying he was aware of the indictment, by saying, “I haven’t been hiding from anyone.” He blamed the difficultly for accepting service because of the threats he’s faced. Giuliani called the indictment a “complete embarrassment.”

At one point the judge cut Giuliani off as started going into a meandering story about the history of alleged threats that have been made against him. “I don’t want to have to mute you,” the judge said.

Outside of court, Nicholas Klingerman, a prosecutor for the Arizona Attorney General’s office, described the multiple attempts they made to serve Giuliani, saying the former mayor was “mocking the justice system in Arizona.”

Asked about Giuliani’s comments during the hearing that the case is “politically motivated,” Klingerman said, “the indictment speaks for itself.”

“I think it’s fairly clear from the indictment what the allegations are,” Klingerman said.

Former Trump attorney John Eastman was the first ally of the former president to be arraigned in the case last week.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes last month announced charges against 11 named alleged fake electors and seven people whose names are redacted in the filing for their alleged role in efforts to subvert Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.

The charges include fraud, forgery and conspiracy.

Arizona is the third state to pursue election interference charges related to the 2020 election. In December, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford announced felony charges against six alleged “fake electors” in that state.

In Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel similarly charged 16 “alternate electors” in July for conspiracy to commit forgery, among other charges.

Three such “fake electors” in Georgia were among the 18 co-defendants charged, along with Trump, in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in that state.

All defendants charged in all three probes have pleaded not guilty, with Georgia defendants Jenna Ellis, Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell and Scott Hall subsequently taking plea deals in exchange for agreeing to testify in that case. In Michigan, the attorney general dropped all charges against defendant Jim Renner in exchange for his cooperation.

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