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Arizona leaders draw scrutiny for ties to Jan. 6 Capitol riots

One year after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol designed to delay the certification of the 2020 election, investigations are still ongoing.

PHOENIX — Inside the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, U.S Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., took a remarkable step as he objected to the certification of his state’s electoral college votes.

"I rise for myself and 60 of my colleagues to object to the counting of the electoral ballots of Arizona," Gosar said

Outside, the crowd was pressing in on the Capitol and beginning to force their way in.

The chambers of Congress separated to debate the objection – and shortly thereafter, the Capitol was put on lockdown.

Hundreds of people broke into the building, tore through offices, causing millions of dollars in property damage, injuring law enforcement officers and crushing fellow protesters. Several people lost their lives.

RELATED: Jan. 6 insurrection: The Arizonans charged & where their cases stand a year later

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Gosar was just one of several Arizona lawmakers found to have ties to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Others made false claims about the 2020 election, and three House members from Arizona voted against certifying electoral votes.

Arizona lawmakers’ actions before the riot 

Days before the violence, U.S. Congressman Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., claimed on local radio that tens of thousands of votes were switched in Maricopa County.

The claim had already been refuted by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and the nation’s top cybersecurity agency. Still, rumors like that continued to capture the attention of voters and gain momentum online.

RELATED: US Rep. Andy Biggs falsely claims 10,000 voters were 'disenfranchised'

Congressman Gosar attended a “Stop the Steal” rally that raised concerns about a type of pen used to vote – a claim that also proved to have no merit.

U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) also perpetuated false claims about the election.

RELATED: Arizona senators, representatives share reaction after failed armed insurrection

And on Jan. 6, 2021, after the lockdown was lifted at the Capitol, these three House members from Arizona each voted against certifying the electoral college votes from this state.

None of these three agreed to comment for this story.

RELATED: Trump endorses Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar one day after House censure

Jan. 6 committee investigation 

A year following the attack on the Capitol, an investigative committee continues looking into those who may have played a role in inciting the violence.

In court records filed in December, “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander of Arizona said he told the committee, as he had claimed many times before, that he worked with Gosar and Biggs.

RELATED: Message to Gosar from longtime GOP official: Quit and face punishment for sedition

Biggs denies in writing that he played a role in organizing the event but did not agree to speak with 12 News.

Gosar has also declined to answer our questions.

Although a host of Arizona leaders spread misinformation, the attention of the Jan. 6 Committee investigation is on the former president’s closest aides.

Investigators are in court working to obtain phone records from Alexander to better understand who he coordinated with in the weeks leading up to the violence last year.

Arizona Politics

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