Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies plead not guilty in alleged election conspiracy

Rudy Giuliani speaks at microphone
[Brandon Bell]

Rudy Giuliani has pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges that he helped carry out a "fake elector" scheme to falsely declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election in Arizona.

Nearly a dozen other allies of the former president also pleaded not guilty to state charges of conspiracy and fraud on Tuesday.

Mr Giuliani appeared remotely, and without a lawyer, at the hearing, where his trial date was set for October.

Mr Trump was not charged in the case.

The bankrupt Mr Giuliani, who was once Mr Trump's lawyer, said he was "capable of handling" the Arizona hearing himself and did not want a court-appointed attorney.

After he pled not guilty, prosecutors told the judge he had evaded attempts to serve him an official summons to court for weeks. Mr Giuliani finally received the court papers on Friday, when they were served to him after his 80th birthday party.

Because of that, the judge said Mr Giuliani would need to appear in person in Arizona within the next 30 days for booking procedures, such as taking a mug shot.

He will also have to post a $10,000 secured-appearance bond. The bonds are often required of defendants considered flight risks - those who may flee the state or country to avoid prosecution.

That bond could prove difficult for Mr Giuliani who filed for bankruptcy last year after losing a $148 million defamation lawsuit.

Altogether, Arizona has charged 18 Republicans for allegedly claiming Mr Trump won the state in 2020, when in truth the Democratic nominee, President Joe Biden, carried it by more than 10,000 votes. It follows Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, in prosecuting Republican officials for allegedly attempting to thwart Mr Biden's 2020 victory and illegally keep Mr Trump in office.

The state says that 11 Republicans charged on Tuesday submitted a document to congress claiming, falsely, that they were Arizona's true electors and saying they would cast the state's electoral votes for Donald Trump.

Among them were Kelli Ward, former chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and her husband Michael Ward, who both pleaded not guilty.

While the state has not charged Mr Trump, he is believed to be one of the unindicted co-conspirators listed in the sweeping indictment released last month.

Four other high-profile officials, including Mr Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, are expected in court in June. Attorney John Eastman was arraigned last week and also pleaded not guilty.

Arizona Chairwoman Kelli Ward speakers at microphone
Kelli Ward is the former chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party [Brandon Bell]