Giuliani Arraigned In Arizona For 2020 Election Scheme | Crooked Media
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May 21, 2024
What A Day
Giuliani Arraigned In Arizona For 2020 Election Scheme

In This Episode

  • Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was one of 11 people who pleaded not guilty in an Arizona court on Tuesday to charges they tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In all, a state grand jury indicted 18 people in the case last month, making Arizona the fourth state to indict fake electors, following Michigan, Georgia, and Nevada. Paul Charlton, former U.S. Attorney for Arizona, explains the state’s case and how cases in other states could build on each other.
  • And in headlines: The United Nations halted food distribution in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah after it said it ran out of supplies, South Carolina’s Republican Governor signed a law barring medical providers from providing gender-affirming care to trans youth, and Netflix said the third season of ‘Bridgerton’ had the biggest opening weekend debut in the show’s history.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday, May 22nd. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What a Day, the show where we can at least take comfort in knowing that we’re having a better day than former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 


Priyanka Aribindi: He is not only so bankrupt that he is now hawking his own line of freedom coffee, but the 79 year old also left his zoom mic on during his Arizona arraignment while seemingly answering nature’s call. 


Juanita Tolliver: Can you imagine listening to that stream live [laughter] in the courtroom? [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, an unofficial campaign video evoking Hitler’s Nazi Germany was posted and deleted on Trump’s Truth Social account. Plus, we talk about the Netflix show with record breaking viewership. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was one of 11 people who pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in an Arizona court. Everyone in this group was charged as part of the case brought by the state’s attorney general, Kris Mayes, last month related to a scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In total, 18 people were indicted in the case. It’s the fourth state to indict fake electors after Michigan, Georgia, and Nevada. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. Giuliani practically goaded Arizona process servers last week in a now deleted tweet, saying that if they couldn’t find him soon, the state would have to dismiss the case. But they ended up serving him just a few hours later at his very own 80th birthday party, which really is, I don’t know, you get what you deserve. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s like I’m evading you, but I’m also going to live stream everything I’m doing and everywhere I’m going. So there you go. [laugh] To get a better sense of the case in Arizona, and how similar cases in other states could build off of each other. I spoke with Paul Charlton. He served as both a former Arizona assistant attorney general and the former U.S. attorney for Arizona. He’s now in private practice. Here’s our conversation. Let’s start with Giuliani. He pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges on Tuesday. He appeared by phone and he was pretty combative. Take a listen to this. 


[clip of Rudy Giuliani] I still consider this indictment a complete embarrassment to the American legal system, but I do show no tendency not to comply. I show up for every court appearance, and I there must’ve been about 20 to 30 of them. There is no history–


[clip of unnamed Judge] Right, sir. 


[clip of Rudy Giuliani] –of my being a [?], which is the basis for a–


[clip of unnamed Judge] I think I understand your position.


[clip of Rudy Giuliani] — [?] bail. 


[clip of unnamed Judge] Thank you sir. 


[clip of Rudy Giuliani] I think it would be outrageous–


[clip of unnamed Judge] Give me one moment. 


[clip of Rudy Giuliani] If you set bond. 


[clip of unnamed Judge] Um. 


[clip of Rudy Giuliani] In this, in this completely in this completely political case that comes very, very late. [?]–


[clip of unnamed Judge] Right, sir. Sir.


[clip of Rudy Giuliani] — [?] three years ago. 


[clip of unnamed Judge] Mr. Giuliani. I don’t want to mute you, but I need to move on. 


Juanita Tolliver: That last voice is the voice of the judge. What do you make of Giuliani’s posture here? 


Paul Charlton: Well, I suppose if you said he was bombastic, that’s probably a fair description of him in any situation and consistent with what we’ve seen in other court proceedings. Sometimes what these defendants will say in court is not necessarily for the consumption of the judge. And you could see the judge or hear the judge was losing her patience. But for the public’s consumption, for his followers consumptions. And so there’s a difference, of course and–


Juanita Tolliver: Uh huh. 


Paul Charlton: –certainly Mr. Giuliani, an experienced lawyer, knows what that difference is. 


Juanita Tolliver: And he also knows how to perform for the audience of one and Donald Trump. So thank you for making that point about who this was for. 


Paul Charlton: Yes. 


Juanita Tolliver: And Giuliani was also the final defendant served. He was ordered to appear in person within 30 days, and he was the only defendant ordered to pay $10,000. Why was Giuliani the only person ordered to pay a fine here? 


Paul Charlton: Well, he had to post a bond because the Attorney General’s office had a very difficult time serving him with the indictment. And you can think about service summons as an invitation. If you’re a layperson, this is your invitation to come to court. 


Juanita Tolliver: That sounds a lot nicer than what it actually is. [laughing]


Paul Charlton: Well it does indeed. But if you fail to comply with that nicety, then the Attorney General’s office can seek an arrest warrant. And that is a much less gentle approach. And I think Mr. Giuliani recognized that the next step was going to be something much more serious. 


Juanita Tolliver: And looking at the broader indictment, according to a reporting from Politico, two of the 18 people facing charges were earlier told by prosecutors that they were not targets in the case. Those two people are Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis and Christina Bobb. Ultimately, though, a grand jury did indict them. What changed? And what does that signal to you? 


Paul Charlton: Well, we don’t know Juanita, what the change was. I think it’s safe to assume that the prosecutors were acting in good faith. So if the reporting is is accurate, then what that means is at one point in time, these individuals were told you are not a target of the investigation. That’s a term of art, means you are not the putative defendant. We want to talk to you as a witness, somebody we’re not considering indicting. And later on, when they were indicted, of course, what you assume again, and ascribing goodwill to these prosecutors in good faith, you assume that new evidence came to light, which would have changed the perspective of those prosecutors. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain why that change would take place. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter, because the reason the prosecutors were reaching out to these individuals was to see if they would come in and talk, if they would visit with them, if they would give evidence, they didn’t. So to the extent the prosecutors were, let’s say, wrong about their assessment of the evidence, it’s not going to matter tremendously as the prosecution moves forward. 


Juanita Tolliver: Someone who is not charged in this case is Donald Trump, but he is listed as unindicted coconspirator number one. Why do you think prosecutors declined to charge him? 


Paul Charlton: That’s a fascinating question, and I don’t think we’re going to know the answer to that question until more discovery, until there’s more court hearings, until we hear more from to the extent that she can share, the attorney general, Kris Mayes, you could come up with a few different theories, including deference to the federal prosecutors, including use of resources. We know that the former president is facing a number of prosecutions in a number of jurisdictions, and tagging on one more prosecution might not have been worth the additional resources for the attorney general. We just don’t know. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. And you mentioned Kris Mayes, the Democratic attorney general in Arizona, and she’s been running the investigation as someone who specializes in white collar and government investigations, what are some of the risks that she and her team face as they pursue convictions against some very high profile Republicans like Giuliani, former white House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Kelli Ward, the former head of the Arizona Republican Party. 


Paul Charlton: So when you are a prosecutor, one of the accepted policy reasons for prosecuting and seeking a criminal conviction in any case is deterrence. Right. So prosecutors prosecute bank robbers, for example, because the hope is that other people who are considering robbing banks will think, you know what, that’s not a very good idea. I saw this other guy go to prison for a long period of time. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Paul Charlton: Here are the downside risks, if you were to just calculate this in terms of that policy, is if you swing at somebody like Giuliani, if you swing at the former head of the Arizona Republican Party, like Ms. Ward, and you miss, you don’t obtain a conviction, then that hope for deterrence is diminished and could be diminished to such a degree that others who are considering doing the same in subsequent elections might not feel that there is any risk involved in doing exactly what these defendants are accused of doing. 


Juanita Tolliver: And with that in mind, I want to zoom out a little bit, because Arizona is one of four states to bring charges against Trump allies over the fake electoral scheme alongside Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia. So are you imagining any way that the Arizona case could bolster the cases in other states, or vice versa? 


Paul Charlton: There are common individuals, obviously, in this discussion and this run up to putting forward the fake electors. Giuliani’s one of them. Borsis Epshteyn is another. So it could very well be that evidence gathered in one state could be of assistance to the evidence that is going to be presented in another state. You can already see, if you followed the congressional hearings about the investigation, led by the then Democrats in Congress, that there is much that is similar and much that would be familiar to you. So I expect there will be some degree of sharing of evidence that’s fair. That’s appropriate. And I think we can expect that to occur here. 


Juanita Tolliver: And as far as a timeline goes, we are less than six months away from November and the election. Is there any chance we could see a trial here before November?


Paul Charlton: I would say zero to none is the likelihood of a trial between now and November. And um, these white collar trials, even criminal trials, almost never go before a jury, even within a year’s period of time. If this case were to arrive before a jury to go to trial within a year, that would be moving at light speed in white collar crime cases. So I don’t think we’re going to see a resolution to this. There’s going to be a lot of motion practice that takes place. The defense attorneys have already said they’re going to be filing motions to send this indictment back to the grand jury for further consideration. That’s a standard practice in Arizona, maybe somewhat unique to Arizona, but that’s going to occur here. So we’re going to see a lot of activity, but no trial for a long period of time, I’m afraid. 


Juanita Tolliver: That was my conversation with Paul Charlton, former U.S. attorney for Arizona. More people in the case, including Mark Meadows, are expected to be arraigned in the coming weeks, so we’ll keep an eye on that. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Thank you for sharing that conversation, Monica. Meanwhile, as former President Trump’s hush money trial winds down, he continues to show us exactly who he is and what he will do if he is elected to another term in office. Let’s start first with an unofficial campaign video reshared on Trump’s Truth Social account on Monday that references Nazi Germany. 


[clip of campaign ad for Donald Trump] What happens after Donald Trump wins? What’s next for America? The economy booms, American energy is unleashed and an end to crushing taxes. The border is closed and the largest deportation in history is underway. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. Didn’t miss that last line there. But the video also featured images of imagined future newspaper articles and headlines in the style of World War Two that celebrate Trump winning the 2024 election, as well as, quote, “the creation of a unified Reich” under a headline that reads “what’s next for America?” 


Juanita Tolliver: Okay, the language obviously echoes Hitler and the Nazis. The Third Reich is what they called Nazi Germany. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Exactly. It’s abhorrent in any way that you slice it, but especially given the rise in anti-Semitism across the world after October 7th, and the fact that this is not even close to the first time that he and his campaign have been accused of using language that echoes fascist dictators of the past, referring to political enemies as vermin, saying undocumented immigrants have poisoned the blood of our country. The list is long, but the Trump campaign is claiming that it was an honest mistake. They have since taken the video down. A spokesperson said that it was just a random clip created by a user online that was reposted by a staffer who didn’t see that word, which would mean that they are just retweeting unvetted garbage onto a former president and current presumptive presidential nominees account, which, if you know anything about the Trump operation, that probably shouldn’t surprise you. But the clip was originally posted by a group of video producers who Trump has close ties with and frequently praises. So perhaps less random than they are really claiming here. The spokesperson, of course, then went on to say that the real extremist here is Joe Biden. President Biden himself weighed in in his latest campaign ad. Take a listen. 


[clip of campaign ad for Donald Trump] What’s next for America? 


[clip of President Joe Biden] This is on his official account? Wow. A unified Reich. That’s Hitler’s language. That’s not America’s. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And speaking of the presidency, in an interview with KDKA in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Trump was asked if he, as president, would support restrictions on contraception. 


[clip of KDKA reporter in Pittsburgh] Do you support any restrictions on a person’s right to contraception? 


[clip of Donald Trump] Well, we’re looking at that, and I’m going to have a policy on that very shortly. And I think it’s something that you’ll find interesting. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah uh. I’m not quite sure what he means by interesting. Probably not my same definition. But this was also very rightly met with backlash very quickly. GOP bans and restriction on abortion, as you and I have been saying for quite some time, have already been incredibly unpopular with voters since the overturning of Roe. You have to imagine that this would be even more so. 


Juanita Tolliver: Roe, which Trump claims to have overturned all by himself after he stacked the Supreme Court with justices who he approved. Um. But also he reneged on this hours later, posting on Truth Social that he would never limit access to contraception. So it feels like we’re all at the whim of whatever he’s feeling, or changing his mind, or even potentially forgetting what he said hours before. I don’t know. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, they’re just running on vibes over there, and it’s not in a good way. And the cherry on top of all of it. At last week’s NRA convention, Trump also flirted with circumventing democracy and term limits. 


[clip of Donald Trump] You know, FDR was a beautiful, had a beautiful patrician voice, magnificent voice, great debater, very smart man. You know, FDR, 16 years, almost 16 years. He was four term. I don’t know, are we going to be considered three term or two term? You tell me. Ronnie, what do you think? [someone shouting “three” in the background]


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my. 


[clip of Donald Trump] Are we three term or two term if we win?


Juanita Tolliver: The cheer in that clip was truly alarming. I just need to point out.


Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. I mean, he’s playing his hits, it seems. But seriously, a very grim vision of the American future that he is painting under himself. We will, of course, continue to follow what he says and does for at least until November 2024. Hopefully we never have to talk about him again, uh but that is the latest for now. We’ll get to some headlines in just a moment, but if you like our show, make sure to subscribe and share it with your friends. We’ll be right back after some ads. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The United Nations said on Tuesday that it has halted food distribution in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah after it ran out of supplies. The UN also noted that there haven’t been any new deliveries of aid for the past several days from the US made floating pier. Since the beginning of May, Israel’s intensifying assault on Rafah has made it difficult for that desperately needed aid to get to Palestinians in Gaza. And also on Tuesday, the Associated Press said that Israel’s communication ministry seized its reporting equipment. Israel claimed that the AP violated a new media law by providing images to Al Jazeera, the news outlet which Israel recently banned. But just a few hours later, after receiving pressure from the Biden administration and others. Israel’s communication minister ordered the government to return the equipment back to the AP. 


Juanita Tolliver: South Carolina’s Republican governor, Henry McMaster, signed a law barring medical providers from providing gender affirming care to trans youth on Tuesday. This makes South Carolina the 25th state to restrict gender affirming care, meaning that trans kids in half the country do not have access to treatments like puberty blockers, hormone therapy and transition related surgeries, all of which are endorsed by major medical organizations. Jace Woodrum, the executive director of the ACLU’s chapter in South Carolina, released a statement on Tuesday blasting McMaster for enacting the law. He wrote, quote, “with the stroke of a pen, he has chosen to insert the will of politicians into health care decisions.” If you want to take action and help defend gender affirming care in South Carolina, we’ll link to the ACLU in our show notes so you can contact state legislators and make your voice heard. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Martin Gruenberg, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, announced on Monday that he is stepping down amid growing calls for his resignation. This comes two weeks after an external investigation revealed how the agency’s leadership created a quote unquote, “toxic workplace culture” at the agency and ignored hundreds of complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination. The bank regulator commissioned the report after the Wall Street Journal published a story back in 2023 detailing how FDIC supervisors would invite female employees to strip clubs, sleep with them, and even encourage them to drink on the job. Gruenberg said in a statement that he will leave his position once a successor is named. The White House says that President Biden is expected to announce a new nominee soon. This is horrific in any workplace industry, anything but–


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –particularly disgusting to see this is starting at the top. This is our government. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. This is an agency created by Congress. It’s also indicative of how deep this flowed when there are hundreds of complaints over years. And so my–


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes! 


Juanita Tolliver: –concern is for the workers impacted, the workers who were forced out, the workers who face trauma and abuse in this environment. And it feels a little like light work for Gruenberg to just say, I’ll step aside instead of face any type of accountability in this situation for what has happened under his leadership. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. 


Juanita Tolliver: And now for some entertainment news. Season three of Bridgerton is finally here, and according to Netflix, it had the biggest opening weekend debut in the show’s history. The new season hit 45.1 million views in just four days after it dropped on the streaming platform on Friday. Y’all gobbled that up, my goodness. [laugh] For those who don’t know, Bridgerton is a drama that takes place in Regency era England in the [?]. The first season came out in 2020 and quickly rose to fame. The show follows eight siblings of a titled family in their quest to find love. Fans like Priyanka and I have been dying for more episodes ever since season three was announced last year. The entire season isn’t even out yet. Only four episodes are on the platform right now. Another four will be released in June. Priyanka, how far in are you and what are your thoughts? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Okay, I have a confession. My confession is that Bridgerton is a fantastic show to watch while you are kind of sick and like, maybe a little bit delirious? [laughter] it just is like, easy bingeable content. And so the last two seasons, I’ve been like, really ill watching. [laugh]


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, no. 


Priyanka Aribindi: So I don’t remember anything. So I have not actually watched the new season. I went all the way back to season one and was like, I actually have no idea what’s going on. So I just restarted from the very beginning. 


Juanita Tolliver: Thanks for your honesty. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m gonna catch up. Yeah, no, I got to be real with you. 


Juanita Tolliver: Thanks for your honesty. [laugh]


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m excited. There’s a lot there’s a lot going on there. 


Juanita Tolliver: There is. I also have a confession. My confession is that I’m protesting this because how dare you only give me four episodes and then expect to wait a month? 


Priyanka Aribindi: So crazy. 


Juanita Tolliver: I would much rather wait until June and then watch it all together. 


Priyanka Aribindi: A transparent scheme to get our $15 a month ad free Netflix subscription for two months. We see right through this Netflix and I don’t like it. I have nothing I can do. I’ll obviously stay. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’ll stay and keep watching.


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s fine.


Juanita Tolliver: Right?


Priyanka Aribindi: I will complain loudly on this podcast. And those are the headlines. 




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show. Make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, send Henry McMaster some hate mail and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just heated discussions on the Bridgerton message boards like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Juanita Tolliver.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka, everybody. 


[spoken together] And mute yourself, Giuliani. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Please. 


Juanita Tolliver: Just disgusting. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We’ve been on zoom for four years now. Get it together. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. That’s gross. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our associate producers are Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf. We had production help today from Michell Eloy, Greg Walters, and Julia Claire. Our showrunner is Erica Morrison, and our executive producer is Adriene Hill. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.