A judge denied a request by Arizona Democrats to halt a Republican-backed 2020 election audit in Maricopa County.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin, who was assigned to the case on Monday after the first judge recused himself, also rejected on Wednesday a motion by Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based consulting firm hired by the GOP-led Arizona Senate, to keep its audit policies and procedures under seal.
The judge ordered that the documents be made public by noon on Thursday, barring action by a higher court, according to 12 News reporter Brahm Resnik.
Breaking: Maricopa County Judge denies Democrat’s request to stop the election audit. The audit continues!
— Maricopa Arizona Audit (@ArizonaAudit)
April 28, 2021
The Arizona Democratic Party and Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the sole Democrat on the board, sued to stop the audit last week, raising concerns about adherence to state election laws and regulations.
Attorneys for the Senate and Cyber Ninjas, whose CEO, Doug Logan, has been subject to scrutiny over his promotion of voter fraud allegations and “Stop the Steal” posts on social media, argue that state election regulations don’t apply to the Legislature and the audit and are asking the court to keep the audit’s methods under seal as trade secrets.
The judge who recused himself, Christopher Coury, ordered a temporary halt on Friday of the audit that was supposed to span over the weekend, but the Democrats refused to pay a $1 million bond, and so far, the review has been able to proceed as planned.
The audit started on Friday, and the state Senate has possession of Veterans Memorial Coliseum through May 14. Alexander Kolodin, an attorney who represents Cyber Ninjas, told the judge on Tuesday that an injunction against the proceedings “may derail this audit,” according to the Arizona Capitol Times.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a critic of the audit, intervened as a plaintiff in the case, and the judge ordered lawyers for her and the Arizona Senate to reach a deal to have Hobbs inspect the venue, or else the judge will settle the matter on Thursday, according to Resnik.
Former President Donald Trump has fixated on the audit, releasing multiple tweemails, and on Tuesday insisted it will show Arizona was a “scam election” state.
The audit will not change the results of the presidential election, as officials in the state have already certified President Joe Biden’s victory, but Arizona Senate President Karen Fann insisted in a radio interview that the audit is meant to restore trust in the system and influence potential changes to the law.
This story is breaking and will be updated.