Two Republican officials in rural Arizona have been criminally charged for delaying the certification of the 2022 election results, the state’s top prosecutor announced on Wednesday.
A state grand jury returned an indictment charging Peggy Suzanne Judd, 61, of Willcox, and Terry Thomas “Tom” Crosby, 64, of Sierra Vista with the felony offenses of Interference with an Election Officer and Conspiracy. Judd and Crosby both currently serve as supervisors in Cochise County, which runs along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The repeated attempts to undermine our democracy are unacceptable,” Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, said in a statement Wednesday. “I took an oath to uphold the rule of law, and my office will continue to enforce Arizona’s elections laws and support our election officials as they carry out the duties and responsibilities of their offices.”
The indictment, filed Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court, alleges that on or between Oct. 11-Dec. 1, 2022, Judd and Crosby conspired to delay the canvass of votes cast in Cochise County in the November election. Prosecutors allege that Judd and Crosby knowingly interfered with the Arizona Secretary of State’s ability to complete the statewide canvass for the 2022 election, by preventing the canvass of votes from Cochise County from occurring during the time period required by Arizona law.
Dennis Wilenchik, an attorney for Crosby, called the indictment “nothing but political partisanship.” In a statement, he promised a vigorous defense for what he called baseless charges.
“The conspiracy is solely based on an alleged ‘agreement’ to interfere that is nonexistent, as there was none,” said Wilenchik, who also referred to the interference charge as “nonsensical.”
Jane Montgomery, spokesperson for Cochise County, declined to comment to the Associated Press about the indictment but confirmed both supervisors will be responsible for their own legal representation.
The indictment marks a rare instance of criminally prosecuting people connected to the vote canvassing being dragged out last year in six Arizona counties. In December 2022, Cochise County certified election results only after a judge ruled Crosby and Judd, both Republicans, were breaking the law by refusing to sign off on the vote count by the deadline.
Crosby and Judd said they were not satisfied that the machines used to tabulate ballots were properly certified for use in elections. This prompted lawsuits, including one from then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat.
After the judge’s order, Judd joined Ann English, the lone Democrat on the three-member board, in voting to certify the election. Crosby did not attend that meeting.
Judd and Crosby both were subpoenaed to court earlier this month. English was not subpoenaed or indicted.
At the time, Judd and Crosby told the Associated Press they had no idea why they were being subpoenaed.
“I don’t feel like I broke a law. But, obviously the courts had different feelings,” Judd said.
Last year, election results were certified without issue throughout most of the country. But in Arizona, the six counties hesitated to meet the certification deadline amid pressure from some Republicans. Democrats ended up winning U.S. Senate, governor and other statewide races in what has now become a swing state.
Arizona has been the home of many election controversies since President Biden was declared winner in 2020, making him the second Democrat in seven decades to win the state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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