On Tuesday, an Arizona judge denied in its entirety Cyber Ninjas’ latest attempt to dismiss our lawsuit seeking the release of records from the state Senate’s partisan election review. American Oversight is investigating the “audit” of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County and has an ongoing lawsuit against the Arizona Senate and Cyber Ninjas for the public release of related records.
Judge Michael Kemp of the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County reiterated what several court rulings have previously found — that records in the custody of Cyber Ninjas regarding the election review are subject to the state public records law. Cyber Ninjas had filed to dismiss the case on the grounds that American Oversight had no claim against it, arguing that as a private contractor its documents were not public records. In Tuesday’s ruling, the court rejected this argument.
While American Oversight has obtained tens of thousands of pages of documents regarding the election “audit,” two outstanding categories of records have not yet been released.
The state Senate is legally obligated to preserve public records from the “audit,” including those held by Cyber Ninjas. Multiple court rulings, including today’s, have determined that these documents are subject to public release, and the state Supreme Court declined to review the case, effectively upholding lower court rulings. But the firm has again and again refused to turn over documents. In a January deposition, lawyers from American Oversight and Phoenix Newspapers Inc. questioned Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, who repeatedly argued that the records in his possession were not public records and did not need to be released.
Separately, the state Senate has attempted to argue that some records that it currently holds should be withheld from the public under a claim of legislative privilege. In May, the Arizona Supreme Court will hear the Senate’s appeal of lower court rulings that have rejected the Senate’s overly broad claim of legislative privilege.
Part of Investigation: