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Former Gov. Ducey on witness list in Arizona AG’s fake electors case

Posted 6/10/24

PHOENIX - Four years ago, Gov. Doug Ducey ignored a call from Donald Trump.

Trump was trying to stay in office as president even though he lost the election.

Ducey was certifying the …

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Former Gov. Ducey on witness list in Arizona AG’s fake electors case


PHOENIX - Four years ago, Gov. Doug Ducey ignored a call from Donald Trump.

Trump was trying to stay in office as president even though he lost the election.

Ducey was certifying the results of the election in Arizona that was won by Joe Biden.

Now, Attorney General Kris Mayes is going to use the former governor as part of her attempt to put some of Trump's associates, attorneys and political supporters behind bars.

Ducey is on a list of 19 witnesses in the upcoming trial of 11 fake electors and others who are charged with fraud and conspiracy in trying to keep Trump in office even though Biden outpolled him by more than 10,000 votes.

The governor drew national attention on Nov. 30, 2020, when, in the middle of signing the formal papers certifying the results of the election, his cell phone rang with the tune of "Hail to the Chief.'' Ducey chose to silence it, later telling reporters later he knew it was the president.

That was the culmination of a series of efforts by Trump to keep the results from being formalized amid claims, never backed up with evidence, that the election was marred by fraud. Ducey already had been the target of some of that.

The governor later said he returned Trump's call after the formal canvass.

"The president has got an inquisitive mind,'' Ducey said at the time.

"When he calls, he's always got a lot of questions,'' the governor said. "I give him honest answers, direct feedback and my opinion when it’s necessary.''

But he declined to say more about that post-canvass conversation other than to say that, during that call, Trump did not ask him to set aside the state's results.

What did occur not only that day but in other prior efforts by Trump to influence Ducey could come out in open court if the Attorney General's Office calls him to the stand.

The Rules of Criminal Procedure require prosecutors to provide the defense with a list of each person the state intends to call as a witness. Ducey's name is on that disclosure.

And while his may be the most identifiable, it is not the only one that could provide testimony about what a state grand jury indictment contends was a scheme to "prevent the lawful transfer of the presidency of the United States, keeping President Donald J. Trump in office against the will of Arizona voters, and depriving Arizona voters of their right to vote and have their votes counted.''

The most visible part of that plot, at least in Arizona, was 11 Republicans signing a document claiming that Trump had won the popular vote here and that they represented the state's 11 electoral votes to be cast for him. That list includes two current state senators - Jake Hoffman of Queen Creek and Anthony Kern of Glendale - as well as Kelli Ward, who at the time was the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, and her husband Michael.

All were charged with multiple crimes.

But the indictment contends it  was part of a larger conspiracy hatched by Trump supporters and attorneys to keep enough states from certifying the results to deny Biden the necessary 270 electoral votes.

Also on that witness list is former state House Speaker Rusty Bowers. He received a call after the election from Trump and Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's lawyers.

Bowers said the then-president laid out broad claims of fraud. And Bowers said both told him that they understood that there was a legal way for him to toss out the election results and grant them to Trump - or at least deny Biden the 11 electoral votes.

He refused to call a special session.

Giuliani is among the others charged in Arizona; Trump is listed in the indictment as an "unindicted co-conspirator.''

Four Republicans who were on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who were pressured by Trump or his allies to throw out the vote tally, also are on the witness list.

So is Vince Leach. He was a Republican state senator from Tucson when Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, an attorney with the Trump campaign, showed up at the senate after the election to meet with GOP lawmakers, made claims about fraud and asked lawmakers to act.

There also are several officials and managers of Trump's 2020 campaign as well on the witness list.

Also on that list is Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney for the Trump campaign, who, along with the former president, was an unindicted co-conspirator.

According to the indictment, Chesebro "drafted memos that encouraged having the fake electors vote on Dec. 14, 2020,'' the date when the real electors were casting their ballots, not just here but also in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

Chesebro had agreed to cooperate with prosecutors here and elsewhere.

But that cooperation didn't keep kept Chesebro from being indicted earlier this month in Wisconsin along with other Trump allies in that state's own investigation.

A trial here is scheduled for October.

Even after the election results were certified, Trump did not let up on Ducey.

Just days later, the president called into an unofficial public meeting of some Republican lawmakers to hear from Giuliani and Ellis. That meeting took place at a Phoenix hotel after Bowers would not allow a formal hearing at the Capitol.

"He didn't have to sign it,'' the president said as Ellis held her cell phone up to a microphone.

"I say, why would he sign when you have these incredible hearings going on that's showing such corruption and such horrible fraud on the American people and the people of Arizona,'' Trump said. "So, you have to figure out, what's that all about with Ducey. He couldn't go fast enough."

We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments on this issue. Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.