August 2, 2023

Trump indictment includes efforts to overturn NM election results

Gage Skidmore

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. cc

The federal indictment against former President Donald Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 election that he lost to President Joe Biden included references to a Republican fake elector scheme in New Mexico.

The indictment appears to outline that the effort in New Mexico was not as involved as those in other states such as Arizona, Georgia or Wisconsin.

The indictment in the long-ranging investigation by special counsel Jack Smith outlines alleged crimes undertaken by Trump and six unnamed co-conspirators. The indictment, filed in Washington D.C., federal court, outlines false claims that Trump made over the elections and challenges that he made to results, which the indictment notes are legally allowed. These were “uniformly unsuccessful,” prosecutors wrote.

The indictment says Trump also “pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting election results.”

The indictment accuses Trump of three conspiracy charges and one count of obstructing a federal proceeding.

As part of the scheme, the indictment says that Trump and “co-conspirators organized fraudulent slates of electors in seven targeted states” which included New Mexico. They attempted to copy the procedures of the legal, actual electors including by meeting on the day that federal law outlines for the legitimate electors.

“Some fraudulent electors were tricked into participating based on the understanding that their votes would be used only if [Trump] succeeded in outcome-determinative lawsuits within their state, which [Trump] never did,” the indictment states.

Trump filed a lawsuit to overturn New Mexico’s election results, after results were certified. The Republican Party of New Mexico said at the time they worked with the Trump campaign to file the suit and it backed lawsuits by Republicans in other states to overturn election results where Trump lost.

The campaign dropped the lawsuit a month later, days after the insurrection where Trump supporters attempted to stop the certification of the election in Congress. Over 1,000 rioters have been arrested and hundreds have been convicted.

This included four New Mexicans—according to a database by NPR—two of whom pleaded guilty, one of which, then-Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, pleaded not guilty and was convicted and one of which was found not guilty of all charges. 

New Mexico was not initially part of the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the election, the indictment alleges. It says that it began with what it calls the Wisconsin Memo, which it describes as “the alternate electors originally conceived of to preserve rights in Wisconsin

instead be used in a number of states as fraudulent electors to prevent Biden from receiving the 270 electoral votes necessary to secure the presidency on January 6.” 

Two of the co-conspirators allegedly discussed how to expand it to other states, using attorneys in those states, including New Mexico, on Dec. 7, days before the New Mexico lawsuit.
The version of the memo sent to New Mexico “did not reveal the intended fraudulent use of [Trump’s] electors,” the indictment states.

Earlier this summer, Michigan charged 16 fake electors for violating state election and forgery laws. Georgia is reportedly pursuing charges against fake electors

There is no indication of whether New Mexico is pursuing charges against five Republicans who filed as electors for Trump. Biden easily won New Mexico’s five electoral votes in 2020, 54.3 percent to 43.5 percent. 

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver met with federal prosecutors earlier this year, though a spokesman declined to say what she said to the special prosecutor.

This is the third indictment Trump faces. A previous federal indictment is related to his handling of classified documents after he left the presidency. He also faces an indictment alleging that he falsified business records in relation to a hush money case with an adult-film actress who he paid money to keep silent over an affair he had with her.


  • Matthew Reichbach

    Matthew Reichbach is the editor of the NM Political Report. The founder and editor of the NM Telegram, Matthew also a co-founded New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and one of the original hires at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation and formerly published, “The Morning Word,” a daily political news summary for NM Telegram and the Santa Fe Reporter.