By Fredreka Schouten, CNN
(CNN) — An Arizona grand jury indicted two local Republican officials who balked at certifying their county’s general election results by the legal deadline in 2022 – in a standoff with state officials that drew national attention at the time.
Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd, 61, and Tom Crosby, 64, each were charged with two felonies: interference with an election officer and conspiracy, according to the indictment.
“The repeated attempts to undermine our democracy are unacceptable,” Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, said in a statement Wednesday, announcing the indictment.
“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,” she added.
Judd and Crosby did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment. In an email, Dennis Wilenchik, an attorney representing Crosby, called the indictment “the product of nothing but political partisanship” and said he intended to “vigorously defend” his client.
“Both charges are without any basis and should be defeated if there is any justice,” Wilenchik said.
The indictment, which was handed down Monday and released Wednesday, alleged that the two supervisors “knowingly interfered” with then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ work to certify the state’s election results by delaying the canvass of the county’s roughly 47,000 votes. (Hobbs, a Democrat, is now Arizona’s governor.)
Judd and Crosby, the two Republicans on the three-person board, had delayed certification over what they said were concerns about whether vote-tallying machines had been properly certified. At the time, the secretary of state’s office countered that the machines had been tested and certified and argued that the recalcitrant board members were advancing debunked conspiracy theories.
In early December 2022 – several days after Cochise County’s legal deadline to do so – Judd and the board’s sole Democrat voted to certify the general election results, following a court order.
Crosby did not participate in the certification vote.
Last year, when asked for a response to Hobbs’ office asking law enforcement officials to pursue a criminal investigation of his and Judd’s actions, Crosby told CNN via email: “There has to be intent which is missing.”
Wilenchik, Crosby’s lawyer, called the interference claim “kind of nonsensical” because state officials ultimately received the county’s certified results before Hobbs’ own deadline to finalize statewide results.
Arizona has been a hotbed of election conspiracy theories ever since Joe Biden flipped the once-reliably red state in 2020, becoming the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the Grand Canyon State in nearly a quarter century. Mayes is conducting a separate investigation into the fake electors who signed documents falsely claiming that Donald Trump had won the state’s 11 electoral votes.
Last year, public meetings in Cochise County – a Republican stronghold in southeastern Arizona – saw loud and frequent demands that local officials wield their largely ministerial certification functions to upend elections. At one point, Judd and Crosby pushed, unsuccessfully, to conduct a broad hand count audit of the general election results.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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