An attorney representing Maricopa County, Arizona, has sent Republican state Senate President Karen Fann a letter demanding the preservation of all documents relating to the county’s 2020 election audit.
Maricopa County attorney Allister Adel sent the notice (pdf) to Fann, saying that some of the auditors involved in the process made potentially false or defamatory allegations.
“It is clear the Arizona Senate and its contractors do not intend to retract false allegations defaming the County and its employees,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said in a statement on May 21, in connection with the demand letter sent by Adel. The letter’s language suggested that the county may be readying a lawsuit against Fann and other Republican leaders, as lawyers typically issue litigation holds before filing suits.
“For that reason, Maricopa County is formally requesting Senate President Fann, Senator Petersen, Senate liaison Ken Bennett, and contractors involved in the ‘audit’ preserve documents and evidence as they may be subject to future legal claims,” he stated.
The letter focused on Fann’s May 13 letter that said a subcontractor for the audit “recently discovered that the entire ‘database’ directory from the D drive” of a machine was deleted. An official Twitter account run by the Senate liaison for the Maricopa forensic audit issued a tweet about the drive being deleted, which hasn’t been taken down, and was also referenced in the demand letter from Adel.
Breaking Update: Maricopa County deleted a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle days before the election equipment was delivered to the audit. This is spoliation of evidence! pic.twitter.com/mY0fmmFXAm
— Maricopa Arizona Audit (@ArizonaAudit) May 13, 2021
Amid reports from CNN and other legacy media outlets that an auditor named Ben Cotton had backtracked and said that the drive wasn’t actually deleted, Cotton told The Epoch Times that his comments during a Senate hearing were taken out of context. He said that the EMS Primary Server “WAS deleted” but he was able to recover it.
“My testimony on May 19th before the AZ Senate is being taken out of context by some media outlets. To confirm: the ‘Databases’ directory on the EMS Primary Server WAS deleted containing the voting databases. I was able to recover the deleted databases through forensic data recovery processes,” Cotton, founder of CyFIR, said.
The Maricopa audit’s Twitter account also posted Cotton’s statement on May 19.
2/2) I was able to recover the deleted databases through forensic data recovery processes. We are performing data continuity checks to ensure that the recovered databases are usable.
— Maricopa Arizona Audit (@ArizonaAudit) May 19, 2021
But Adel’s letter also claimed that the audit “is not being done in accordance with Arizona law” and demanded that Fann and other officials “must preserve all documents … including any and all communications between you and any other member of the Senate or their staffs, and also any communications between you and your agents, including, but not limited to, Ken Bennett, Cyber Ninjas, CyFir, Wake TSI, and those firms’ various owners, officers, employees, agents, subcontractors, or volunteers.”
Fann’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment. She had told The Epoch Times on May 20 that neither she nor the auditors went back on claims that the drive had been deleted.
“The file was deleted, but Cyfir was able to recover it from other areas. But yes, the file had been deleted on that portion of the drive,” she said via email.
Then-candidate Joe Biden received around 10,000 more votes than incumbent President Donald Trump in Arizona during the Nov. 3, 2020, election.