Judge ordered Cyber ​​Samurai to keep Maricopa’s voting audit records in a proceeding by The Arizona Republic


For the first time on Wednesday, an Arizona judge directly ordered the company that led the audit of the 2020 Maricopa County elections to keep all records and make them publicly available.

Senate Arizona and Florida-based Cyber ​​Samurai have argued in court that emails about audits and other records are not subject to the state’s public records law requiring disclosure.

The litigation order filed by The Arizona Republic is one of several decisions dealing with audit records held by Cyber ​​Samurai, but it is the first to deal directly with the company.

However, Judge John Hannah of the Maricopa County Superior Court will immediately submit these documents to the Senate and Cyber ​​Samurai as the Supreme Court of the Arizona Supreme Court held a similar order from a judge in another case on Tuesday. Did not order.

more: In Arizona, the outbreak of COVID-19 among Cyber ​​Samurai staff has delayed the delivery of a complete election audit report.

However, this order is intended to ensure that Cyber ​​Samurai stores emails and allows the general public to see them after the proceedings have been resolved.

“All defendants, including Cyber ​​Samurai, are cautious of degrading, cutting, losing, or destroying all records in storage, possession, or management that are reasonably necessary or appropriate to maintain accurate knowledge of civil servants. Protects, protects, and protects. Activities related to the 2020 Marikopa County Election Audit, including auditing, funding, and staffing records, “Hanna wrote.

Senate Republicans hired Cyber ​​Samurai to perform unprecedented audits, and elected officials still give preliminary reports from the company after the company’s CEO Doug Logan and others recently learned. I’ll be waiting Was infected with COVID-19..

Two proceedings seek ninja records

Test ballots will be counted manually on July 14, 2021 at Wesley Borinville, Arizona State Fairgrounds, Phoenix.

Test ballots will be counted manually on July 14, 2021 at Wesley Borinville, Arizona State Fairgrounds, Phoenix.

The Republic’s proceedings are one of two proceedings in court seeking records, including emails and other communications between those involved in the audit.

Non-profit organization called U.S. director sued Senate First, look for the document. This group was partially established by former Obama administration officials to investigate the Trump administration.

Republic Then filed a proceeding, Cyber ​​Samurai and Senate nominated as defendants. Both American Oversight and Republic first requested documents through the state’s official records law and filed their respective proceedings when the records were not submitted.

Since the audit is conducted under the direction of the Senate, which is a public institution, the documents related to the audit are public records, and the Senate needs to make records under the control of Cyber ​​Samurai available. Complaints from the Republic are alleged.

more: “Need to stop counting”: Record details of the hard work by the Trump allies to put pressure on Maricopa County supervisors

Judge in American Surveillance Case Ordered to publish all communications, Which Senate appealed..

when Senate lost again in Court of Appeals, It appealed to the Supreme Court, This put the Senate on hold an order to create a record on Tuesday It is owned by Cyber ​​Samurai.

But Hannah ordered Wednesday that if the hold, or legitimate “stay,” is lifted, Cyber ​​Samurai will only have three business days to submit the document, unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise. Stated.

Some records already provided

Judges in both the US surveillance case and the Republic case ordered the records currently in possession of the Senate to be handed over while the proceedings over the records maintained by Cyber ​​Samurai continued.

The Senate provides these records on a rolling basis for both cases., Post them to a public website set up to answer your request..

After an American Oversight lawyer claimed that the Senate was moving too slowly The judge ordered the publication of all documents by August 31st, With a log of records withheld for legal reasons.

Hannah issued a similar order on Wednesday to submit a log detailing the records that the Senate had by August 31 and the documents that it possessed but did not consider to be published. Requested.

The Republic has the opportunity to challenge the Senate with records that are stated not to be disclosed. To do so, Hannah’s Wednesday order requires the court to review the document for a case-by-case decision.

Supreme Court making the final decision

The Senate refused to ask Cyber ​​Samurai to submit the audit-related records it owns. And Cyber ​​Samurai also refused to hand them over.

Senator Karen Fann at a Senate hearing on the progress of an election audit in Maricopa County, Senate Arizona, Phoenix, July 15, 2021.

Senator Karen Fann at a Senate hearing on the progress of an election audit in Maricopa County, Senate Arizona, Phoenix, July 15, 2021.

Senate Chair Karen Huang, R-Prescott, said it would be a bad precedent for government contractors to submit to public records.

The Senate argued in court that the state’s public records law does not apply to communications owned by government contractors, and that impunity protects the Senate from the need to create records.

American Oversight did not appoint Cyber ​​Ninjas as a defendant in the proceedings, so the company is not subject to the proceedings. However, the Republic has nominated Cyber ​​Samurai as a defendant.

On Wednesday, Hannah also denied Cyber ​​Samurai’s allegations to dismiss the case. Still pending in court is Cyber ​​Samurai’s move to hire a new judge to replace Hannah. The Supreme Court is considering the request.

Reach Reporter Ryan Randazzo In Ryan.Randazzo@ arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4331. Follow him on Twitter @ UtilityReporter.

This article was originally published in The Arizona Republic: Arizona Audit: Judge Orders Cyber ​​Samurai to Save Documents