Cyber Ninjas will be a defendant in an ongoing case to access all records related to the Arizona Senate audit of the 2020 election, according to a court ruling last Wednesday. CEO Doug Logan was called to testify shortly after the ruling; his deposition is scheduled to take place January 5.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp asserted that Cyber Ninjas records were a matter of public record and characterized the company as an agent of the Arizona Senate. The plaintiff, American Oversight, had claimed that adequate relief wasn’t possible without adding Cyber Ninjas as a defendant because the company hadn’t turned over records requested.
“Cyber Ninjas possesses certain public records that the Senate Defendants are statutorily obligated to maintain and that the Senate Defendants have been ordered to produce in this matter. The Senate Defendants have made demand on Cyber Ninjas for those public records, but Cyber Ninjas has failed to provide them,” stated American Oversight. “In addition, Cyber Ninjas is properly joined because it is the custodian of certain public records, as was recently held in Cyber Ninjas, Inc. v. Hannah […] ‘Cyber Ninjas was properly joined as a necessary party in PNI’s special action because . . . as an agent of the Senate, it is alleged to be the sole custodian of records pertaining to the audit that are subject to disclosure under the PRL. In other words, joinder of Cyber Ninjas is necessary only because the Senate does not have the public records that are in Cyber Ninjas’ custody.’”
Logan requested to be added onto the case as an amicus party only, which Kemp denied.
American Oversight is an investigative and litigational organization that files open records requests. They first sued the Arizona Senate in May after not receiving their requested records on the election audit.
The latest court developments in American Oversight v. Karen came days after Cyber Ninjas presented additional findings on purported election integrity issues to Pima County. Cyber Ninjas was joined in their presentation by secretary of state candidate and State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley).
Finchem read aloud a letter claimed to be from an anonymous Democrat whistleblower. The unidentified individual alleged that fellow Democrats added 35,000 votes to President Joe Biden’s totals in Pima County. The allegation described a secret meeting with the Pima County Democratic Party to embed the votes across the county, detailing spreadsheet plans that would avoid any audit suspicion by keeping fraudulent votes in groups of 1,000 and total votes below the entire voting population.
The Pima County Democratic Party derided the claims as lies and part of a grifting scheme.
Election night reports that Biden won Pima County by nearly ten points: 58.6 to former President Donald Trump’s 39.9 percent.
The current secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, has the complete opposite perspective of Finchem. In addition to dismissing Cyber Ninja’s claims outright — usually calling their audit work a “#fraudit” on Twitter — Hobbs proposed a slew of progressive election reforms in a letter submitted to the state legislature last week.
Last week, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Bill Gates appeared in a video to speak out against the Senate’s audit. The pair had teamed up to support Republicans for Voting Rights within the Republican Accountability Project, the latest endeavor of the Democratic, “Never-Trump” group, Defending Democracy Together. They were one of the top-spending “dark money” groups in the 2020 election, spending over $15 million to either oppose previous President Donald Trump or support President Joe Biden. Contrary to how DDT characterizes itself, Open Secrets classifies DDT as “liberal.”
AZ Free News reached out to both Richer and Gates to inquire about this partnership. Gates didn’t respond by press time, but Richer did. Richer told AZ Free News that he decided to team up with Defending Democracy Together because he believed it was an opportunity to speak out against what led to January 6, which he said reminded him of the French Revolution. Richer also informed us that Defending Democracy Together approached him to appear in the video, and that he didn’t receive any compensation for his appearance.
“I took the opportunity to voice my opposition to January 6 and the lies that led to January 6,” stated Richer. “Standing up against something that looked like it was out of the playbook of the French Revolution is something that would hopefully make Edmund Burke – the godfather of modern conservatism – and anyone who supports law and order proud.”
In the video, Gates said that the auditing company, Cyber Ninjas, and the Arizona Senate have “desecrated our democracy” with their audit. He urged other Republican leaders to say that no fraud existed and that President Donald Trump really lost the election, in order to save our democracy. “If you aren’t willing to speak up now, as a Republican, when are you going to?” asked Gates. “You can’t worry about your electoral prospects because we may not have a democracy by the time that you have a reelection.”
Richer concurred with Gates’ pleadings, asking Republicans what their “line in the sand” was if it wasn’t the January 6 riot. He characterized the audit as a partisan effort led by conspiracy theorists.
“I wish there were more Republicans who would speak out about this audit. There has to be a line in the sand. If lying about the election system, lying about the very form of government to which you were elected, if January 6 isn’t your line in the sand, what is?” asked Richer.
Gates shared the video shortly after it was posted by the Republican Accountability Project. “Conspiracy-driven, partisan audits only further ‘The Big Lie’ and chip away at the foundations of our democracy,” tweeted Gates. “To my fellow Republicans, it’s time to tell the truth. If not now, when? Our republic depends on it.” https://twitter.com/billgatesaz/status/1441455035901227009 The Republican Accountability Project calls January 6 an “insurrection.” By law, an insurrection is a violent uprising or rebellion against the government. The project also ranks those that many call “Republicans In Name Only” (RINOs) as “excellent,” such as Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IN-16) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), as well as Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Ben Sasse (R-NE). True Republicans back the traditional party values of low taxation, limited government, deregulation, conservative lifestyles, capitalism, and the free market.
By definition, those in charge of Defending Democracy Together aren’t Republicans.
One of the directors, Amanda Carpenter, is a CNN political commentator and author of “GASLIGHTING AMERICA: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us.” Another director, Olivia Troye, pledged to vote for Biden – she was previously in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a top aide to previous Vice President Mike Pence.
The founding director and current chairman of Defending Democracy Together, Bill Kristol, chairman, came out as a Democrat last year. Although, Kristol’s tax filings indicate that he’s been a Democrat for years.
Sarah Longwell, executive director and co-founder of Defending Democracy Together, as well as spokeswoman for Republicans for the Rule of Law went door knocking for Biden’s campaign last year and presumably voted for him.
The full transcript of the video is reproduced below:
Gates: What the Cyber Ninjas and the Arizona Senate has done is to desecrate our democracy.
Richer: This is a partisan audit that is driven by conspiracy theorists.
Gates: I’m Bill Gates and I’m Vice Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
Richer: My name is Stephen Richer, and I’m the Maricopa County Recorder.
Gates: We have to tell people the truth: there’s no evidence of fraud and that Donald Trump lost the election. If you aren’t willing to speak up now, as a Republican, when are you going to? You can’t worry about your electoral prospects because we may not have a democracy by the time that you have a reelection.
Richer: I wish there were more Republicans who would speak out about this audit. There has to be a line in the sand. If lying about the election system, lying about the very form of government to which you were elected, if January 6 isn’t your line in the sand, what is?
A purported draft of the Maricopa County election audit report calling for decertification has been circulating online since the official audit report on Friday. This version of the audit report called for decertification of the 2020 election results. The Gateway Pundit, a right-leaning news outlet, originally published the purported draft. In a press release response on Monday, the auditing company Cyber Ninjas asserted that the draft and its recommendations of decertification weren’t real.
The Gateway Pundit draft is not the same draft audit report leaked to media outlets last Friday prior to the Senate presentation. That draft audit report is valid, whereas the one in which Cyber Ninjas recommended decertification isn’t valid.
This “draft” of the audit report was uploaded to Scribd by Jim Hoft, founder and editor-in-chief of Gateway Pundit. It was then reported on by Joe Hoft, Jim’s twin brother, in an article published Sunday afternoon, “Arizona Audit Final Report Was Watered Down: Reports from Cyber Ninjas Were Edited, Most Damning Statements Removed – What Else Was Removed?”
AZ Free News reached out to Gateway Pundit to inquire about the origins of this draft report. They didn’t offer a response by press time.
The PR team for Cyber Ninjas, the Thomson Group, issued a statement on Monday that the draft audit report from Gateway Pundit was falsified and wasn’t from Cyber Ninjas.
There is a false version of the Executive Summary of the Maricopa County Forensic Election Audit report that is circulating. This false version claims to be an earlier version of the Cyber Ninjas Executive Summary, but because of supposed threats from the Senate, it was not used. This is absolutely false.
The exact origins to the Executive Summary found at the following scribd link are unknown. But it was not written by Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, nor was it any version that was ever sent or shown to the Senate for review. Specifically, this false version of the Executive Summary states, ‘the election should not be certified.’
This was not written by Cyber Ninjas. It is Cyber Ninjas’ perspective that whether an election should or should not be certified is to be determined by the legislature, and not auditors. The audit team’s job is to supply all the facts and findings surrounding the election and recommend legislative reforms.
We followed up with the Thomson Group to ask if they’d determined the source for this falsified draft report. They didn’t respond by press time, either.
“All our content should be true. No value is more important than this. […] All Gateway Pundit content should be excellent, both in production and in the promotion of virtue. […] We must have courage in order [to] expose the truth about powerful interests that may be angered by our coverage.”
The Senate’s liaison to the audit, Randy Pullen, confirmed with the Arizona Capitol Times that the draft audit report calling for decertification was fake. As of press time, Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) hasn’t issued any statements on this purported audit draft.
Last Friday, Maricopa County settled with the State Senate on both side’s election demands, with the Senate apparently compromising on nothing per the agreement. The county will hand over the remaining election materials subpoenaed by the Senate: routers, splunk logs, and digital images of ballot envelopes. They will also drop their demand that the legislature pay $2.8 million to replace the voting machines. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs – who told the county that she would likely decertify any election results that come from the audited machines – has yet to issue a statement on the settlement.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors convened on Friday to discuss this settlement. They ultimately decided that the election routers, splunk logs, and ballot envelopes weren’t worth $700 million in lost funds. In fact, the board decided securing those funds was worth an additional expenditure. The county will pay for a “Special Master”: an official to oversee acquisition of the routers and splunk logs. Former Republican Congressman John Shadegg will serve that role.
Senate Republicans tweeted the news in a statement from President Karen Fann (R-Prescott). Fann clarified that experts were sure that the audited election equipment wasn’t compromised, as the county had claimed.
“The Senate will finally get the answers to questions asked for in the subpoenas issued to the County months ago,” stated Fann. “I look forward to getting our final questions answered and wrapping up the review of the election in Maricopa County.”
Shortly after, Fann released a more personalized statement of her own. She responded to critics and skeptics with clarification that the Senate hadn’t lost out on anything they were desiring.
“HUGE win for the Az Senate today! Maricopa settlement gives us all the data needed to complete the review of the routers & splunk log to the most comprehensive election audit in history,” stated Fann. “We got everything we need and more. Maricopa County goes home with its tail between its legs.”
Maricopa County officials spun a different narrative in their announcement of the settlement. The county neglected to clarify that they were still turning over the subpoenaed election materials to the Senate for inspection. Instead, they emphasized that the auditing company, Cyber Ninjas, wouldn’t be given access to those materials.
“NEW: Board votes to approve an agreement with the AZ Senate that keeps county routers & other sensitive materials out of the hands of Cyber Ninjas. The agreement also protects taxpayers and ends a legal dispute over the Senate’s ongoing election review,” stated the county. “Per Chairman @jacksellers: ‘The Cyber Ninjas will never be able to touch the routers or access our data. An independent third party can confirm what we’ve always said: the election equipment was not connected to the internet and no vote switching occurred. And our residents, law enforcement, and courts can all rest assured that their data and equipment are protected.’ The agreement with the Senate comes with a provision that the Senate President write a letter to the Attorney General stating the County has now fully complied with the Senate’s outstanding subpoenas and that further action is not warranted.”
Cyber Ninjas’s report on Maricopa County’s 2020 election will be released on Friday. Since Cyber Ninjas isn’t privy to the election materials obtained from the Maricopa County-Senate settlement, information from those materials won’t be included.
Last month, Hobbs published a full report of the audit, asserting that Cyber Ninjas’ work was more of a partisan review than a credible audit.
The results of the Arizona Senate’s audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results are expected to be released next Friday at 1 pm, according to State Senate Attorney Kory Langhofer. Audit results will include a hand count total of the ballots, a machine count total of ballots to compare the auditing company’s totals against the state’s, and complete analysis of mail-in ballot signatures.
State senators will be the first to lay their eyes on the audit findings prior to a public presentation. The auditing company, Cyber Ninjas, will privately present their findings to Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Peterson (R-Gilbert). Once the other senators have reviewed the report, the judiciary committee will convene formally in a meeting open to the public to discuss the report.
As of press time, neither Fann or the Arizona Republican Party have issued an official statement about this new date for the audit results.
Langhofer revealed the new release date during a hearing on Thursday before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp. The hearing was part of an ongoing lawsuit against the Senate, American Oversight v. Fann, et al., to obtain all communications and documents from Cyber Ninjas. Kemp also ordered Cyber Ninjas and the Senate to produce these records in another lawsuit, Phoenix Newspapers, Inc., v. Arizona State Senate.
Kemp originally ordered Cyber Ninjas to produce the requested records by August 31. However, Kemp granted them more time to turn over the thousands of records following their request.
Cyber Ninjas has faced several delays throughout this audit, which began in April. Most recently, progress halted after their entire team was reportedly infected by COVID-19. The company has also been waiting for Maricopa County election officials to comply with outstanding subpoenas for routers and passwords connected to the voting machines. If the county doesn’t comply by September 27, the state will withhold around $700 million in funding obtained from sales tax revenue.
Those missing items will not be part of this latest report.
Maricopa County argued that they didn’t have to comply with the Senate’s request because the legislative session ended in July. Attorney General Mark Brnovich disagreed. He determined that if the county didn’t comply by the deadline, they would lose out on their millions.
With just one week left before their deadline, the county’s board of supervisors decided to convene to discuss whether they will comply with the Senate’s subpoena. The meeting will take place on Friday.