Former President Donald Trump hammered Democrats on Friday for filing an 11th-hour lawsuit to try to prevent an audit of Arizona’s Maricopa County 2020 election systems from going forward.
He alleged the reason is clear: They want to keep the “fraud” he believes occurred in the 2020 presidential election from being revealed.
On Thursday, the day before the audit was to begin, the Arizona Democratic Party sued GOP Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen, seeking for an injunction to be put in place blocking the audit, claiming that the measure was unlawful.
In their complaint, the Democrats claimed that Senate Republicans do not have proper procedures in place to ensure the security of the ballots and called into question the independence of the companies the lawmakers contracted to oversee the audit.
The Arizona Republic reported that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury ordered a “pause” in the recount effective at 5 p.m. on Friday if Democrats post a $1 million bond.
Coury said he does not want to micromanage how the Senate conducts its audit.
“However, it is the province of the court to ensure voter information and those constitutional protections are held sacrosanct and that also includes the protection of ballots under Arizona law.”
Coury has set another hearing for Monday at 11 a.m.
AUDIT UPDATE: Maricopa County Superior Court has ruled that AZ audit will be paused at 5PM today (to allow for appeal) until Monday 12PM IF plaintiffs provide $1million bond for damages. Judge said "The audit will proceed" but he wants to review policies and procedures in place.
— Republican Party of Arizona (@AZGOP) April 23, 2021
Trump praised the efforts of the Arizona GOP Senate to review November’s election.
“So many people would like to thank the brave and patriotic Republican State Senators from Arizona for the incredible job they are doing in exposing the large scale Voter Fraud which took place in the 2020 Presidential Election,” he said in a statement released on Friday.
President Trump releases statementon on forensic audit in Arizona pic.twitter.com/MvmgOlAi3c
— 🚨Patriot News (@Grahmptri) April 23, 2021
“Their tireless efforts have led to a massive recount, ballot examination, and full forensic audit, undertaken by experts retained by the State Senate, with results to be announced within six weeks,” he continued.
The 45th president recounted that Democrats have sent a team of lawyers to Arizona in an effort to stop the audit and the transparency that would come with it.
“THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DID!” Trump claimed. “The Democrats are desperate for the FRAUD to remain concealed because, when revealed, the Great States of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, New Hampshire, and the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, would be forced to complete the work already started.”
Trump also called out the Maricopa Board of Supervisors for refusing to comply with Senate subpoenas dating back to December, questioning what the board is trying to hide.
After the board filed multiple lawsuits seeking to block the subpoenas, a judge ruled in late February the Senate could have access to Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots cast, as well as the machines and software used to conduct the election.
Trump concluded, “Honest elections are America’s Heart and Soul. We must never allow this to happen to our Great Country again.
“Thank you State Senators and others in Arizona for commencing this full forensic audit. I predict the results will be startling!”
Despite numerous allegations of voting irregularities, no court has ruled that there was widespread fraud that affected the results of the 2020 election.
Democratic Maricopa County Board of Supervisors member Steve Gallardo, who is listed as a plaintiff in the Democrats’ lawsuit, tweeted, “The sole reason for this lawsuit and injunctions is to protect the sanctity of the ballots and more importantly to preserve voters’ privacy from a sham audit that has been corrupted by agitators and conspiracy theorists.
“This corrupted process will not be transparent, dark money influencers have handed picked the folks to observe and witness the ‘audit’ that will be conducted by an uncertified and unqualified group,” he added.
2/ money influencers have handed picked the folks to observe and witness the “audit” that will be conducted by an uncertified and unqualified group.
— Supervisor Steve Gallardo (@Steve_Gallardo) April 22, 2021
In a news release last month, Fann said, “After months of interviewing various forensic auditors, the Arizona Senate has found a qualified team consisting of Wake Technology Services, Inc., CyFir, LLC, Digital Discovery, and Cyber Ninja, Inc. to conduct the audit.”
The Arizona Republic reported that Cyber Ninja’s founder Doug Logan shared posts on Twitter after November’s election suggesting he holds to Trump’s views that fraud occurred.
In response to the Democrats’ lawsuit, Fann told the paper, “We are keeping the sanctity of the ballots.”
She also is “seriously wondering what they are afraid of.”
The Arizona Republican Party chided Democrats for the last-minute lawsuit too, tweeting, “Democrats doing everything to stop audit, including filing lawsuits attacking the ‘integrity’ of the process.”
Democrats doing everything to stop audit, including filing lawsuits attacking the "integrity" of the process. So NOW they care about #ElectionIntegrity?!?! Nope. They just don't want Americans to be involved in our own elections. Watch audit live at https://t.co/YgAKN8EcYu pic.twitter.com/Nz3r8bcyDJ
— Republican Party of Arizona (@AZGOP) April 23, 2021
“So NOW they care about #ElectionIntegrity?!?! Nope. They just don’t want Americans to be involved in our own elections,” the party added.
President Joe Biden won Maricopa County (which encompasses the Phoenix metropolitan area) by 2.2 percentage points in November — representing a 5.1 percent swing in the Democrat’s favor from 2016, when Trump won it by 2.9 percent over failed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Despite Biden’s victory, Republicans carried every countywide office in Maricopa, save for sheriff (which the incumbent Democrat held), including flipping the county recorder and winning the open treasurer seat.
Biden won Arizona by 10,457 votes (0.3 percent), the closest margin of any of the swing states that went for him.
The facility being used to conduct the audit in Phoenix has been rented for four weeks. The audit will be live-streamed to the public.