Arizona’s secretary of state wants the state’s attorney general to investigate whether former President Donald Trump and several allies broke the law when they tried pressuring Maricopa County officials to intervene in election certification and counting efforts in late 2020.
Phone calls and texts from Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward may have violated state law that makes it a felony to knowingly interfere in any manner with an election officer, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, told Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, in a letter this week.
The law also says people commit a felony when they try inducing an election officer “to violate or refuse to comply with the officer’s duty or any law regulating the election.”
Hobbs pointed out how Ward told Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, a Republican who was chair of the Board of Supervisors at the time, to “stop the counting,” according to documents and audio from the county obtained by the Arizona Republic. She said that was a clear effort to induce supervisors to comply with their election-related duties, which include overseeing the counting of ballots.
Hobbs said she has also obtained the records and will provide them to Brnovich to aid in an investigation.
“We have received the Secretary of State’s letter and have no further comment at this time,” Katie Conner, a spokeswoman for Brnovich’s office, told The Epoch Times in an email.
The Arizona Republican Party, Giuliani, and Trump’s office did not return requests for comment.
Hickman declined an interview request through a spokesperson, who confirmed that Giuliani and Ward contacted him in the wake of the election. The White House operator also left a voicemail with Hickman, asking that he respond to speak with Trump.
Supervisors Steve Chucri and Bill Gates, both Republicans, did not respond to requests for comment. They were also contacted by Ward and Giuliani.
Hickman told the Republic that he did not want to speak to Trump because he thought the former president would try pressuring him to change the election results. He was worried communicating with Trump, who called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger late last year to ask him to probe alleged election fraud, would be improper.
“I didn’t want to walk into that space,” Hickman said. “I’m not going to tape a president, so I’m not going to talk to a president … I didn’t want to have a very rough call to my home on a Sunday night.”
“I got a phone call from the White House switchboard, and I have to say it: All of these people that called me, it wasn’t stonewalling. We were in litigation at all these points. … Whatever needed to be said, needed to be said in a courtroom in front of a judge or a jury,” he added during an appearance on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”
Hickman said he conveyed to Trump’s campaign that Trump shouldn’t get in touch.
“I said, ‘Just do me a favor. I can’t talk to anyone while this is being litigated,” he said.
Maricopa County faced multiple lawsuits after the election. The county battled with the Arizona Senate in court for months before a judge ruled the county needed to comply with subpoenas that ordered officials to turn over election materials such as ballots.
The county Board of Supervisors does not support the audit and asserts the election was well-run, referencing a post-election hand count of a sampling of ballots and a risk-limiting audit.
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