A judge today "completely reject(ed)" State Senate President Karen Fann's reason for not turning over records related to her election audit. It does not matter whether the records are in the hands of the Cyber Ninjas or subcontractors, Judge Michael Kemp ruled.
"The Court finds that any and all documents with a substantial nexus to the audit activities are public records. This does not mean that all internal files of all government vendors constitute public records of the officer or public body with whom they contracted their services. The Court further finds that CNI and the subvendors are agents for the Senate Defendants who have at least constructive possession of the documents in question. In Court filings in a related case, Arizona Democratic Party, et al. v. Fann, et al., CV2020-006646, Defendant Fann admitted that CNI and Mr. Bennett were the Senate’s authorized agents."
Judge Kemp concluded his 6 1/2 page ruling with this clear message: " It is difficult to conceive of a case with a more compelling public interest demanding public disclosure and public scrutiny. The Motion to Dismiss is denied."
In a separate ruling this morning, Kemp also rejected efforts by Fann and the Cyber Ninjas to yank a related case - from the Arizona Republic - from Judge John Hannah. The effort to transfer/consolidate is just one of the legal tactics they have used to get rid of Judge Hannah - Arizona's Law separately reported yesterday on the Motion to Disqualify him.
Although Judge Kemp did not give a deadline for the defendants to turn over the records that are not in the physical control of the State Senate, there are two dates in related proceedings to keep in mind. First, the OSC return hearing that was supposed to take place yesterday in the Arizona Republic's case was pushed back to July 21. And, the (U.S.) House Oversight Committee got into the game yesterday with an extensive request to Cyber Ninjas for documents and communications. The deadline for that is July 28.
(This is a developing story. Please check back for further reporting.)
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