An Arizona judge on Wednesday ordered Cyber Ninjas, the company Arizona Republicans hired to run a shoddy review of the 2020 elections, to preserve documents of its audit for public release.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah’s decision marks the first time Cyber Ninjas has been ordered directly to keep its records amid multiple lawsuits seeking transparency in the politicized and largely secretive operation.
The judge’s order is part of the Arizona Republic’s lawsuit against Cyber Ninjas and the GOP-controlled Arizona Senate for documents about the audit.
“All defendants, including Cyber Ninjas, are ordered to carefully secure, protect and preserve from deterioration, mutilation, loss or destruction any and all records in their custody, possession or control that are reasonably necessary or appropriate to maintain an accurate knowledge of their official activities concerning the 2020 Maricopa County election audit, including records of the performance, funding and staffing of said audit,” Hannah wrote in his order.
The judge stated that unless the Arizona Supreme Court rules otherwise, Cyber Ninjas will have to turn over its documents in three business days once the Supreme Court lifts its stay on an order for the company’s records in a similar lawsuit against the Senate.
The audit, a partisan endeavor aimed at legitimizing ex-President Donald Trump’s lies about election fraud, has been riddle with problems, from contractors’ mishandling of election equipment, to Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan peddling deranged pro-Trump conspiracy theories, to the review running well past its deadline.
The report from the audit was expected to finally be released on Monday, but it was snagged by yet another delay after Logan and other Cyber Ninja members became “quite sick” from COVID-19, according to Arizona state Senate president Karen Fann (R).