Arizona Newspaper Files Lawsuit Against GOP-Led Senate Over Audit Information

July 4, 2021 Updated: July 5, 2021

An Arizona newspaper has filed a lawsuit against the Republican-led state Senate and a contractor to obtain information about the audit of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County.

The Arizona Republic stated that it has “filed a special action in Maricopa County Superior Court seeking financial records and communications about the audit from the [Arizona] Senate and Cyber Ninjas,” the Florida-based company that’s carrying out the review of voting equipment and 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa.

A lawyer for the newspaper said the lawsuit and records have to be disclosed under Arizona law because the Senate, a public body, is orchestrating the audit.

“Arizona law entitles the public to know how this audit is being conducted and funded,” David Bodney, an attorney representing the newspaper, said last week. “And the Arizona public records law does not permit the Senate to play ‘hide the ball’ by delegating core responsibilities to a third party like Cyber Ninjas and concealing records of government activities and public expenditures in Cyber Ninjas’ files.”

Cyber Ninjas, which was hired by the state Senate, previously asked a court to keep its procedures secret after the Arizona Democratic Party and Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo filed a suit against the Senate to prevent the audit. A Maricopa County judge later rejected a request made by Cyber Ninjas and ruled that the firm can’t hide procedures or policies from the media or members of the public.

The lawsuit comes after Senate Majority Leader Karen Fann, a Republican, told The Epoch Times that Maricopa supervisors haven’t turned over “missing items” that were related to a court-ordered subpoena of the election. The Senate has extended its lease at the State Fairgrounds for several more weeks, she said.

“The Arizona Senate has extended our contract with the State Fairgrounds for two weeks at the Wesley Bolin building. Our vendor is finishing the aggregation process which is double and triple-checking the tallies of the hand counts, spreadsheet, tally sheets, image scanning etc.,” Fann said last week. “This is a critical step to ensure the tallies can be accurately verified, which will give us a path forward in completing the audit.”

Late last month, the audit team announced that it had finished the hand-count portion of the audit, although spokespeople have stressed that more work is needed to be completed before a final report—estimated to be finished around August—can be released.

Ken Bennett, an audit liaison, recently told NBC News that the team obtained Maricopa County documents that track ballot duplications after the ballots were either damaged or unreadable in a tabulating machine.

Fann’s office and Cyber Ninjas didn’t respond to requests for comment regarding the lawsuit by press time.

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.