'Stop the Steal' figure Ali Alexander, who boasted of ties to Biggs, Gosar, cooperating in Jan. 6 probe
The architect of the "Stop the Steal" movement, who boasted that U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona helped plan the Jan. 6, 2021, rally that turned into a violent assault at the U.S. Capitol, is cooperating with federal investigators.
Ali Alexander, who has described himself as "the father" of the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, said he agreed to work with the Department of Justice after being served with a grand jury subpoena this month.
Alexander's cooperation was first reported by The New York Times and provides official confirmation that investigators are looking beyond the breach of the U.S. Capitol by hundreds of Trump supporters to the planners and organizers behind it.
Alexander has already talked to congressional investigators about his communications with several Republican lawmakers. In December, he testified to the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Alexander, in federal court documents, said he testified he had "a few phone conversations" with Gosar and spoke to Biggs "in person."
Alexander famously called Gosar the "spirit animal" of "Stop the Steal" efforts in a video posted before the attack that has since been deleted.
He described Biggs as a hero of the movement during a 2020 rally in Phoenix and led a chant in his name.
As rioters fought past police and breached the interior of the Capitol, Biggs and Gosar were in the House calling to set aside electors chosen by voters in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Alexander also had ties to state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and former state Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, who spoke at "Stop the Steal" rallies and were at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Finchem and Kern were mingling with crowds amassed on the Capitol steps, photos, texts and social media accounts show.
All four Arizona lawmakers have circulated baseless conspiracy theories about former President Donald Trump's 2020 loss in Arizona and pushed for the state Senate's partisan audit of Maricopa County's election results.
They also predicted on talk shows and at "Stop the Steal" events that Jan. 6 would be a notable day in American history.
Biggs and Gosar discussed the approaching date as "The Alamo" or "D-Day" in a December 2020 broadcast of Sean Hannity's radio show.
Kern said during a 2020 rally in Phoenix that Jan. 6 would be a big day.
Kern was still in office on Jan. 6 and is now running for the Arizona Senate. He was captured in photographs at the Capitol among a throng of people dressed in MAGA hats and holding Trump flags.
He said in a December 2021 interview what happened at the Capitol was a partisan "hoax" and that violence was the result of Democratic plants in the crowd.
Kern did not respond to requests for comment about Alexander's decision to cooperate with investigators.
Biggs, Gosar and Finchem also did not respond to interview requests.
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Alexander in a statement denied any wrongdoing and said he was not the target of the investigation. He said he had no evidence that anyone planned to do anything unlawful. And he denounced anyone who did.
That is in contrast to what he said on Jan. 6, when he posted a video on social media from a vantage point overlooking the Capitol as rioters surged into the building.
In another social media post before the riot, Alexander said Biggs, Gossar and Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama "came up with the Jan. 6 idea" as a way to prevent Joe Biden from being certified as president.
"We four schemed up of putting max pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside."
Biggs has long denied the claim. He also has denied ever associating with Alexander.
Alexander testified he had multiple conversations with Biggs and Gosar
Biggs in 2021 told The Arizona Republic through a spokesman that he had never met nor associated with Alexander and maintained he was not involved in the planning of the Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally.
But in a Dec. 17 federal lawsuit, Alexander said he had multiple conversations with Biggs and Gosar, and relayed that information to Congress.
"At Alexander’s December 9, 2021, deposition, he testified that he had a few phone conversations with Representative Paul Gosar," according to the lawsuit. "He also testified that he spoke to Rep. Biggs in person and never by phone, to the best of his recollection."
Alexander filed suit to block Verizon from turning over his phone records to the Jan. 6 Select Committee. He said the records sought by the committee from Nov. 1, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021, had no bearing on its investigation and included privileged communication with his attorneys and clergy.
The lawsuit emphasized Alexander voluntarily cooperated with the committee and turned over to investigators "hundreds of pages of documents, emails, and texts."
Gosar has not answered The Republic's repeated questions about his relationship or interactions with Alexander.
Many politicians and conservative political operatives in the state embraced the Arizona Republican Party-supported "Stop the Steal" rallies, with party Chair Kelli Ward often taking a vocal part and several other elected Republicans joining in.
Alexander went so far as to claim "Stop the Steal" controlled key political leaders in Arizona and promised a swift ouster of Gov. Doug Ducey, who certified the state's election results showing Biden won.
"'Stop the Steal' has already taken over Arizona," Alexander said in videos prior to Jan. 6. "We will control who the leadership is in the state houses and we will toss out Doug Ducey."
Finchem, now running to be state's top election officer, claimed rampant fraud
Finchem was in the vanguard of Alexander's efforts to restore Trump to the presidency. He promised a Phoenix crowd of "Stop the Steal" supporters in December 2020 that he had evidence the election was rigged.
He said he traveled to Washington, D.C., in the days ahead of the Jan. 6 rally to deliver data to then Vice President Mike Pence in an effort to sway him to reject electoral votes.
Finchem claimed after the riot that he was nowhere near the Capitol when it was breached and only learned about it afterward at his hotel. But his own texts revealed he was in the thick of the crowd and in direct communication with "Stop the Steal" organizers who warned "they are storming the Capitol."
The four-term state lawmaker, who calls himself "the Honey Badger," has continued pushing election fraud theories and is now running for secretary of state, Arizona's chief elections officer.
He has called for audits of other Arizona counties, including Pinal, Coconino and Pima.
At an Oct. 9 Trump rally in Des Moines, Finchem claimed without evidence that up to 35,000 fictitious voters were registered in Pima County. The Arizona Attorney General's Office said in an Oct. 14 letter it had investigated based on Finchem's televised claims and was unable to find evidence to support them.
Finchem for months after the election promised a state investigation into voter fraud. But he never requested a meeting with state authorities. Nor did he provide evidence that he said would spark a criminal investigation and a grand jury probe, according to the Attorney General's Office.
'Insurrection' clause should disqualify politicians from office, lawsuits allege
Biggs, Gosar and Finchem are targeted in lawsuits seeking to prevent them from running for office.
The lawsuits were filed in Maricopa County Superior Court by a group called Free Speech for People. The lawsuits maintain the lawmakers violated a provision of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution that disqualifies those who "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" from Congress.
The group claims Finchem broke his oath to the U.S. Constitution.
The insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment was applied in the post-Civil War period numerous times, but it hasn't been used in about 150 years.
The lawsuits are part of a similar — and so far unsuccessful — effort in other states against U.S. Reps. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.
Arguments on a motion to dismiss the lawsuits against Biggs and Gosar are scheduled for Monday. A similar hearing on the suit against Finchem is scheduled for Wednesday.