Wednesday, March 9, 2022

BREAKING: Maricopa County Attorney Demands All Cyber Ninjas' Communications With Trump, Congress About Election "Audit" (READ Special Action, PRR)

Update, 3/11, 10:30am: The Maricopa County Attorney's Office confirmed to Arizona's Law this morning that they did not receive any response to the November 2021 public records request. (The next step for MCAO would be to file a legal action in Superior Court, and join the effort begun by American Oversight and then the Arizona Republic. The MCAO did not indicate whether they when and if they would take that step.

UPDATE, 3/11 10am: Supreme Court REJECTS Cyber Ninjas' (Latest) Effort To Erase $50,000/day Fine (READ Order)

The full Arizona Supreme Court today REJECTED Cyber Ninjas' latest effort to overturn the $50,000/day fine for not turning over public records from its Arizona election "audit".

Duty Justice Ann Timmer signed the Order but noted that it came after "consideration by the full court". She thoroughly runs through the convoluted timeline of the public records lawsuits filed by the Arizona Republic and American Oversight, before noting that the Ninjas' attorney (Jack Wilenchik) "failed to adequately explain" why he should skip the intermediate Court of Appeals level in considering his latest effort.

"A special action challenging the entry of a non-appealable order involving a pure question of law or a mixed question of law and fact should generally be presented to the court of appeals in the first instance. CNI has not adequately explained why it cannot initially seek relief from that court. First, although many, but not all, issues were briefed in the November petition, this Court did not consider or rule on the merits of that petition, meaning we are not in a better position than the court of appeals to decide this petition. Second, the court of appeals, which has previously considered the August 24th order, is familiar with the issues in this case. Third, filing a petition with the court of appeals will not add an unnecessary level of appellate review. As in all cases, whether to review the court of appeals’ decision, if requested, would be discretionary, meaning the court of appeals’ decision here may be the final one. Fourth, CNI’s financial wherewithal and the growing sanction amount has no bearing on its ability to file its petition with the court of appeals."

Arizona's Law was first to report the story of this latest Special Action effort (below), which included the newsworthy nugget of Maricopa County's thorough public records request first made back in November 2021. It requested documents backing up the report made by Cyber Ninjas to the Arizona State Senate, as well as communications between CNI and former President Donald Trump (and many others).

If the fine stands, it currently totals $2.2M. (h/t to @NinjasTracker)

Original article, 3/9, 2:20pm: BREAKING: Maricopa County Attorney Demands All Cyber Ninjas' Communications With Trump, Congress About Election "Audit"  (READ Special Action, PRR)

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office demanded that Cyber Ninjas turn over all communications it had with former President Donald Trump and his team, Arizona (and, other) Congressmen and more.  The heretofore unannounced letter was attached to a NEW Special Action Petition filed with the Arizona Supreme Court by the Cyber Ninjas in their other public records-related lawsuits.

(from NYT)

The request was made in November 2021 by MCAO Civil Services Division Chief Tom Liddy was made directly to the now-former CEO of the Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, as well as attorney Jack Wilenchik. It came shortly after the Arizona Court of Appeals had ruled that records in the Cyber Ninjas' possession must be considered public records. (Cyber Ninjas was retained by State Senate President Karen Fann to conduct a so-called audit.)

The County sought everything relied upon by Logan when he produced the long-overdue report in September 2021. However, it also sought all communications between CNI (and any subcontractors) and (1) several State Senators, (2) Rep. Finchem, (3) several members of the U.S. Congress (including Gosar, Biggs, Gohmert, Greene, Boebert, Gaetz), (4) Trump and his team (Meadows, Ellis, Giuliani, Flynn, Bannon, Lindell, Byrne, Powell, Kolodin, Langhofer, more, (5) AZGOP Chair Kelli Ward, (6) Jordan Conradson/Gateway Pundit, (7) Christina Bobb/One America, (8) others (Pulitzer, Kern, Burk).

This goes well beyond the scope of the later subpoenas issued by Congress' January 6th Committee. Despite the differences in their scopes, they are related to the same efforts to undo the November 2020 election (that are continuing in many ways).

There are no indications the request was responded to, and attempts to get a comment from the MCAO have been unsuccessful.

The Special Action Petition filed yesterday purports to be an update of a previous one denied by the Supreme Court, although the Court is treating it as a new one. It seeks to undo the $50,000/day contempt order issued on January 6.

Chandler attorney Tom Ryan applauded the effort, telling Arizona's Law simply, "Tom Liddy is kickass." Liddy, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors have stood up to their GOP colleagues throughout this 16-month long (and, counting) post-election process.

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. 

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