New Attorney General May Face Defamation Lawsuit Over Firing Claim

New Attorney General May Face Defamation Lawsuit Over Firing Claim

By Corinne Murdock |

Attorney General Kris Mayes may face a defamation lawsuit after a member of her administration falsely claimed that she fired former Assistant Attorney General Jen Wright.

Wright, also formerly the head of the Election Integrity Unit (EIU), resigned days before Mayes took office. However, the Arizona Republic reported last week that Mayes fired Wright, relying on exclusive information provided by an unnamed source.

“In one of her first official acts, newly elected Attorney General Kris Mayes told Wright to resign or be fired, her office confirmed Wednesday,” stated the article. 

Wright questioned who in the Mayes administration fed the false claim to the Arizona Republic. Wright shared documented proof from human resources confirming her resignation was effective Dec. 30, along with a Dec. 31 resignation letter submitted to Michael Catlett, deputy solicitor general and chief counsel of special litigation.

Wright also questioned why the reporter, Robert Anglen, hadn’t reached out to her for comment. Anglen admitted privately to Wright in an email that he failed to reach out for comment after claiming to have “just” discovered that she blocked him on Twitter, and that he hadn’t thought to reach out via LinkedIn. 

However, Anglen claimed publicly on social media that he had reached out to Wright via LinkedIn for comment; additionally, he reported last November that Wright blocked him.

Anglen also claimed that the source inside Mayes’ office had confirmed that Wright was fired twice. 

Washington Post concurred with Wright’s account of events.

The Arizona Daily Independent (ADI) confirmed that Wright issued a notice and demand for correction per state statute. If Wright filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the libel, she may be awarded special damages only — unless she can confirm that the article was made with actual malice.

As of this report, the claim that Mayes fired Wright remains in the article. 

In a memo obtained by the ADI, Wright informed Anglen and Greg Burton, executive editor of the Arizona Republic, that they needed to correct the article. 

“As an attorney, my reputation is a significant part of my ability to get clients,” stated Wright. “The longer you keep up this defamatory article, the more damages I am incurring.”

Former Attorney General Mark Brnovich appointed Wright to lead the EIU when he created it in 2019. Prior to her resignation, Wright investigated hundreds of complaints pertaining to Maricopa County’s administration of the 2022 midterm election. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Attorney General Probes Maricopa County For Potential Violation of Election Law

Attorney General Probes Maricopa County For Potential Violation of Election Law

By Corinne Murdock |

Over the weekend, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office advised Maricopa County that it may have violated election law.

According to the attorney general’s office, their Elections Integrity Unit (EIU) received hundreds of substantive complaints concerning Maricopa County’s handling of the election. Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright asked the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to explain the faulty printer settings, issuance of unlawful information regarding voting “check-out” procedures, and the unlawful mixing of “Door 3” non-tabulated with tabulated ballots by next Monday. At least 17,000 voters across 60 voting locations were impacted by Election Day tabulation issues. 

“Arizonans deserve a full report and accounting of the myriad problems that occurred in relation to Maricopa County’s administration of the 2022 General Election,” stated Wright.

According to sworn complaints received by the EIU, printer settings were fine during testing the day before Election Day. Wright asked the county to provide the attorney general’s office with a comprehensive report detailing the voting locations that experienced printer or tabulation issues, the specific issues experienced by each voting location, all issues related to the printers and tabulators that contributed to voting location problems, a log of all changes to the printer settings that includes the identification of the individuals who made the changes, the county’s standards for printer settings, the exact time when the county discovered printer settings were the cause of the widespread vote center failures, and the methods used to remedy the printer settings at each voting location.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said that the long lines caused by the malfunctioning tabulators weren’t indicative of voter suppression. Rather, Gates said that the long lines were caused by voters’ resistance to dropping off their ballots in “Door 3” slots when the tabulators failed. Gates alluded that Republican Party leadership was to blame for voter aversion to casting a Door 3 ballot.

As the attorney general’s office noted in their letter to the county, Door 3 non-tabulated ballots were unlawfully mixed with tabulated ballots at some voting locations. According to the EIU, at least one election observer witnessed more than 1,700 Door 3 non-tabulated ballots placed in black duffle bags intended to hold tabulated ballots only.

The attorney general’s office added that the law requires the county to reconcile ballots cast against check-ins at voting locations — not at central count. Wright asked the county to provide a statement clarifying whether reconciliation occurred at the voting locations or at central count. 

Confusion over whether the county reconciled ballots at voting locations prior to central count likely occurred due to statements by officials. The county made no mention of the reconciliation process when advising voters what happens to Door 3 ballots.

In a later apology to voters, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said that Door 3 ballots were retrieved by election workers at the end of the day and brought to central count. Again, Richer issued this statement without any mention of reconciliation. 

Additionally, the attorney general’s office contradicted the county’s assertion that voters could cast a valid ballot after checking into another voting location.

The attorney general’s office asserted that poll workers weren’t trained on executing “check out” procedures — further contradicting county officials’ claims that this was a viable option for voters who desired to cast their ballot at another voting location after checking in to one. EIU reports reflected that voters were required to cast a provisional ballot at the secondary location since “check out” procedures weren’t possible. 

The attorney general’s office contended that state law prohibits provisional ballots from being counted when a voter checks in at multiple pollbooks. 

The attorney general’s office asked the county to issue a report detailing when and how poll workers were trained in “check out” procedures, the legal basis for “check out” procedures, why the county continued to encourage voters to leave voting locations despite EIU notification that “check out” procedure training wasn’t proper, and all voters provided a provisional ballot due to multiple pollbook check-ins. 

The county announced on Sunday that its tabulation efforts are nearly complete. Following this, all 15 counties will complete a canvass of the votes. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.