The CEO of the controversial Cyber Ninjas company hired by Arizona’s Republican Senate to carry out an audit of 2020 presidential ballots in Maricopa County has flatly refused to comply with a county court’s order to publicly release the firm’s records, The Arizona Republic reported.
CEO Doug Logan “started off very complacent and happy to answer questions” in a lengthy deposition on Thursday, “but as it went on he became more combative,” said Craig Hoffman, attorney for the Republic, which, along with the nonprofit watchdog group American Oversight, sued to compel Logan to answer questions at a deposition and to turn over records of the privately run election audit.
Logan, who had no experience auditing elections until he was hired by the Republican state senators to examine the 2.1 million votes in Maricopa, finally just refused to turn over documents the court had deemed public in response to an open records request. Logan said he would wait for what he called a “clear” ruling that he intended to then appeal to the Supreme Court, the newspaper reported, adding that he likely meant the state Supreme Court.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah early this month found the Ninjas in contempt of a court order for failing to produce the audit records, and he imposed a $50,000-a-day fine until the company complied. Soon after, the Ninjas firm quickly shut down.
Logan is now reportedly “liquidating” assets. His attorney on Thursday described him as the company’s “former” CEO. But he remains president of the Ninjas board, the Republic reported Friday.
Logan claimed Hannah’s earlier court order to release the records came from a “biased judge” and argued that the ballot information his firm gathered should not be made public, the newspaper reported.
Even the Arizona Senate is scrambling to locate Cyber Ninjas’ records from the audit it commissioned after an official recount failed to change the 2020 presidential election outcome.
Senate Republicans recently discovered that the Ninjas leased a mysterious “data center,” and last week they sent a letter to the company and others involved in the botched audit asking if public records are being stored at this center, according to the Republic.
“There’s not a lot I can say,” state Senate President Karen Fann told the newspaper at the time. She said she had no idea where the “data center” was located. Fann was the one who hired Cyber Ninjas in a partisan attempt to challenge Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the state.
The audit quickly became steeped in controversy as a series of bumbles and alarming actions came to light. Ballot examiners were equipped with blue pens, which are not allowed in recounts because they can be used to alter ballots, and “auditors” sought traces of bamboo on ballots, which they purported would be proof of Chinese interference in the election. In addition, truckloads of voter data were spirited 1,300 away to a cabin in Montana for “special” examination.
The company ended up confirming Biden’s win in Maricopa County about seven months after the audit began and, in fact, added to his margin.
Cyber Ninjas also raised questions challenging the election’s integrity, but county election officials released a scathing report of the findings earlier this month, concluding that nearly 80 claims made by Cyber Ninjas were misleading or false.
Arizona is also one of five states where a fake slate of GOP electors filed fake certificates to claim that Trump had won the state votes. The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed several of the counterfeit electors.
The Arizona election results were certified Nov. 30, 2020, by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey after several official recounts failed to find any irregularities. Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes in the state and edged out Trump by more than 2 percentage points ― about 45,000 votes ― in Maricopa County.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.