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The Hill
The Hill
5 Jan 2024
Ella Lee

NextImg:New Mexico fake electors won’t face charges, says state AG

The slate of so-called “fake electors” in New Mexico who falsely claimed former President Trump won the state in the 2020 presidential election will not face criminal charges, the state’s attorney general announced Friday.

“It is disgraceful that New Mexicans were enlisted in a plot to undermine democracy and thwart the peaceful and orderly transfer of power,” New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez (D) said in a statement. “However, like the fake electors in Pennsylvania, their misconduct is not subject to criminal prosecution under current state law.”

The state attorney general’s office began investigating the alternate electors in 2023, after a referral to federal authorities reaped no determination over whether the pro-Trump electors acted unlawfully, according to a press release.

As part of the probe, investigators interviewed the five alternate electors in New Mexico, and other individuals tied to the false certificate.

Ultimately, investigators determined that Trump’s team and campaign provided the fake certificate and instructions for completing and submitting it. However, the New Mexico document would only be valid if the signatories were later determined legitimate electors — unlike the documents in other states, the attorney general’s office said.

The New Mexico attorney general’s office issued a 29-page report on its investigation and requested that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) ask the state Legislature to change its election code to give prosecutors “greater latitude to prosecute these types of cases in the future.”

Torrez specifically recommended making falsely acting as a presidential elector a crime and expanding the state crime of falsifying election documents to include additional documents and eliminate an “unnecessary” mental state requirement. 

“Given the extraordinary threat that this type of misconduct poses to our democracy, it is essential that the New Mexico legislature amend the election code to provide clear legal authority for prosecuting similar misconduct in the future and enhance the security of the electoral process,” the report reads. 

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Fake electors allegedly convened in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Nevada and Wisconsin, claiming without basis that they were “duly elected” electors from their states. 

The scheme, spearheaded by Trump lawyers, relied on former Vice President Pence to certify the slates of Trump-supporting electors in battleground states instead of the true electoral votes cast for Biden.

On Jan. 6, 2021 — the day of the election certification — Pence declined to go along with the plan. A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol later that day in protest of the election results and Pence’s refusal to overturn them.

Investigations in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada have so far turned up charges against the fake electors. Arizona’s probe is ongoing, while the attorneys general’s offices in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have previously declined to comment on whether the alternate electors are being investigated. 

Updated at 4:17 p.m.