In a new court filing, Arizona “audit” contractor Cyber Ninjas tried to walk back its previous estimate of the number of records in its possession related to the Arizona Senate’s partisan review of the 2020 election. The statement came as a formal response to American Oversight’s second amended complaint in the watchdog’s lawsuit against the Arizona Senate and Cyber Ninjas seeking the release of records from the partisan election inquiry.
During court proceedings on Oct. 28, 2021, counsel for Cyber Ninjas estimated that the total number of documents held by the company during the relevant time period was “some order of tens of thousands” or somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 — although those records had not been reviewed to determine whether or not they were substantially related to the audit. At the time, Cyber Ninjas was attempting to argue to the court that it would be overly burdensome and expensive for the company to review and produce documents in response to American Oversight’s lawsuit. American Oversight cited these numbers in the amended complaint.
Nearly five months later, after Arizona courts had again ruled that Cyber Ninjas would be required to turn over the documents, the firm argued that American Oversight’s filing did not accurately reflect what the firm had admitted in court, and insisted that all its references to specific numbers were estimates only.
Apart from the question of how many documents Cyber Ninjas may still be holding, the company also admitted that the hand count in Maricopa County, during which it reviewed 24 percent of ballots cast, “did not show any discrepancies from the certified election results.” However, it denied that the audits of vote tabulation machines reviewed election results or confirmed the accuracy of election results.
In another statement, the firm admitted that its former CEO Doug Logan tweeted statements claiming that President Biden’s victory was a result of fraud. In December 2020, Logan retweeted a response to a tweet from Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward in which she challenged the validity of 200,000 votes cast in Maricopa County. The tweet said, “Hint: After auditing the adjudicated ballots and corresponding AuditMarks, you may discover Trump got 200k more votes than previously reported in Arizona.” While Cyber Ninjas acknowledged that their CEO retweeted this statement in anticipation of finding thousands of Trump votes, the firm claimed that the allegations are irrelevant to the case.
The firm also volunteered information that it had provided more than 120,000 images to the Arizona Senate, along with admitting to American Oversight’s claim that it provided documents to the Senate. The additional images that Cyber Ninjas admitted to sharing were likely of ballots or voting and vote-counting machines. Between Sept. 17 and Oct. 26, 2021, Cyber Ninjas provided approximately 300 written documents to the Senate, about 185 of which were produced to the public reading room, as outlined by American Oversight in the complaint.
Multiple court rulings have determined that Cyber Ninjas’ records related to the Senate’s “audit” are subject to public release, but the firm has repeatedly refused to turn over documents. The Arizona Senate has also attempted to argue that some of its audit records should be withheld from the public under a claim of legislative privilege. In May, the state Supreme Court will hear the Senate’s appeal of lower court rulings that have rejected this overly broad claim of legislative privilege.
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