UNITED STATES NEWS

New Mexico attorney general says fake GOP electors can’t be prosecuted, recommends changes

Jan 5, 2024, 2:49 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s top prosecutor said Friday that the state’s five Republican electors cannot be prosecuted under the current law for filing election certificates that falsely declared Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 presidential race.

However, Democratic Attorney General Raúl Torrez is making recommendations to state lawmakers that he says would enhance the security of the state’s electoral process and provide legal authority for prosecuting similar conduct in the future.

New Mexico is one of several states where fake electors attempted to cast ballots indicating that Trump had won, a strategy at the center of criminal charges against Trump and his associates. Democratic officials launched separate investigations in some states, resulting in indictments against GOP electors.

Fake certificates were submitted in the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In New Mexico and Pennsylvania, fake electors added a caveat saying the certificate was submitted in case they were later recognized as duly elected, qualified electors. That would only have been possible if Trump had won any of several dozen legal battles he waged against states in the weeks after the election.

President Joe Biden won the 2020 vote in New Mexico by roughly 11 percentage points — the largest margin among the states where so-called fake electors have been implicated.

In December, a Nevada grand jury indicted six Republicans with felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument, in connection with false election certificates. They have pleaded not guilt.

Michigan’s Attorney General filed felony charges in July 2023 against 16 Republican fake electors, who would face eight criminal charges including forgery and conspiracy to commit election forgery, though one had charges dropped after reaching a cooperation deal. The top charge carried a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Sixteen fake electors also have been charged in Georgia, three of which were also charged alongside Trump in a sweeping indictment accusing them of participating in a wide-ranging scheme to illegally overturn the results of the presidential election. They have pleaded not guilty.

Among those accused in a Fulton County indictment is Santa Fe attorney and former law professor John Eastman.

In January 2022, then-New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, had referred the false certificates to federal authorities for investigation. When Torrez took office in 2023, he ordered a state investigation to determine if the electors had committed any crimes.

Torrez’s office said investigators reviewed thousands of pages of documents relating to activities in New Mexico and in the other battleground states. They also interviewed the five GOP electors.

New Mexico prosecutors contend that Trump’s team provided instructions for completing and submitting the documents. Unlike the certification documents the campaign sent to other states, those used in New Mexico were hinged on Trump winning his challenges.

While saying it was disgraceful that New Mexicans were enlisted in a plot to “undermine democracy,” Torrez acknowledged that the conduct by GOP electors in New Mexico was not subject to criminal prosecution.

He’s asking Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Democratic-controlled Legislature to amend state election code to give prosecutors more latitude to pursue charges in these types of cases in the future.

Torrez’s recommendations include expanding the prohibition against falsified election documents to include certificates related to presidential electors and creating a new law against falsely acting as a presidential elector.

United States News

FILE - Former President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil ...

Associated Press

$454 million judgment against Trump is finalized, starting clock on appeal in civil fraud case

NEW YORK (AP) — The staggering civil fraud judgment against Donald Trump was finalized in New York on Friday, making official a verdict that leaves the former president on the hook for more than $454 million in fines and interest. The procedural step by the New York county clerk starts the clock on Trump’s appeals […]

19 minutes ago

Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Biden tells governors he’s eyeing executive action on immigration, seems ‘frustrated’ with lawyers

President Joe Biden told the nation's governors on Friday that he's exploring what executive actions he can take to curb migration across the southern border.

27 minutes ago

Associated Press

California State University student workers vote to unionize, creating largest such union in country

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Undergraduate student workers at California State University voted to join a union to negotiate better pay, sick time, paid parking and other benefits with the university, officials announced Friday. The California Public Employment Relations Board said 7,252 student workers submitted electronic ballots between Jan. 25 and Feb. 22, with 7,050 voting […]

46 minutes ago

Associated Press

Bill headed to South Dakota governor would allow museum’s taxidermy animals to find new homes

South Dakota’s Legislature has made it easier for the city of Sioux Falls to find new homes for more than 150 taxidermy animals of its arsenic-contaminated menagerie. The mounted lion, tiger, polar bear and gorilla were part of display that filled a natural history museum at the state’s largest zoo. But when testing in August […]

1 hour ago

Migrants unload their items off a bus as they arrive at a bus stop after leaving a processing facil...

Associated Press

Border Patrol releases hundreds of migrants at a bus stop after San Diego runs out of aid money

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Hundreds of migrants were dropped off Friday at a San Diego bus stop instead of at a reception center that had been serving as a staging area because it ran out of local funding sooner than expected, showing how even the largest city on the country’s southern border is struggling to […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Seaplane crashes near PortMiami, all 7 passengers escape without injury, officials say

MIAMI (AP) — A seaplane overturned Friday afternoon while trying to land near PortMiami, but no serious injuries were reported, officials said. The aircraft came down in a channel between the port’s cruise ship terminals and a causeway that connects Miami to Miami Beach, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. The single-engine Cessna 208 was trying […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

New Mexico attorney general says fake GOP electors can’t be prosecuted, recommends changes