While the Arizona State Senate is again appealing another Order to turn over records related to the election "audit", they warned parties that a Cyber Ninjas "data room" that may contain relevant data may "expire" next week for lack of payment. In addition to those developments, the attorneys for both sides continue to fight on several fronts.
Let's run everything down in a list:
1) At this afternoon's status conference, the Senate's attorney (Kory Langhofer) revealed that he today asked the Supreme Court to stop ("stay") the Court of Appeals' decision from last week. That Opinion reaffirmed that the Senate is not entitled to broad legislative immunity on the records related to the "audit" and ordered the Senate to turn over its records to either American Oversight and the Arizona Republic, or to the trial court judge for review.
2) Langhofer also notified opposing counsel this morning (by email) that he had spoken with former Senate liaison Randy Pullen "and he mentioned his impression that it (a "data room" with some records that might be relevant) exists or is rumored to exist." Pullen's impression was that a lease was expiring, said Langhofer. And, that he spoke with Cyber Ninjas attorney Jack Wilenchik and understood that Cyber Ninjas might transfer the data room to the Senate if the state agreed to take over certain unpaid obligations. "We know very little", Langhofer told Judge Michael Kemp.
Wilenchik called it a "false alarm", and said that a person "hanging on to it (a server) does not want to", but reiterating that "it is being preserved."
Arizona Republic attorney Craig Hoffman reminded Judge Kemp that the only reason this server is still out there as a possible issue is because the parties have violated court orders to turn over the records. "It is a symptom of the fact they are in violation of multiple orders."
3) The Senate's attorney has filed a notice to strike Judge Kemp from the case, although the judge indicated that he is leaning towards denying it. The Senate and the Cyber Ninjas repeatedly tried to kick Judge John Hannah off the parallel cases before Judge Kemp consolidated them last week and took them over. (No truth to the rumor that if Judge Kemp is now removed, they would head back to Judge Hannah's courtroom.)
4) The Arizona Republic has asked the judge to assess attorneys' fees against Cyber Ninjas, Wilenchik and the firm Wilenchik is part of. The Motion claims they made bad-faith arguments to withhold the records and that the attorneys should be assessed the fees incurred "during the periods in which Cyber Ninjas was invoking and relying on objectively baseless arguments to frustrate Plaintiffs’ statutory right to inspect public records promptly."
This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.
"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet.