PHOENIX — Maricopa County
officials directed the Arizona Senate
and the auditors they hired to review the county's 2020 election
count to save documents for a possible lawsuit
The county made the demand in a letter after the auditors refused to retract their claim that the county destroyed evidence by deleting an election database, which the GOP-controlled Board of Supervisors and Republican Recorder Stephen Richer, one of the top election officials, deny.
County officials previously stated that if Senate President Karen Fann and the auditors do not retract the allegation that files were deleted, they may consider filing a defamation
“Because of the wrongful accusations that the County destroyed evidence, the County or its elected officers may now be subject to, or have, legal claims,” Tom Liddy, the county’s chief litigation attorney, wrote in a letter to Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican from Prescott.
are overseeing an unprecedented partisan audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, which includes a hand recount
of 2.1 million ballots and a review of voting
machines and other data. Fann claimed the database was deleted, which a Twitter
account linked to the audit called “spoliation of evidence.” Former President Donald Trump
backed up Fann’s claim in a statement last weekend.
County officials stated on Monday that no databases or directories were deleted and provided a detailed explanation for why they believe the auditors were unable to locate them, accusing the auditors of incompetence. The next day, a data forensics consultant on the audit team stated that he was able to “recover” the files, and the audit’s Twitter account later repeated the claim that files were deleted.
The letter instructs Fann and anyone else involved in the audit to keep all audit-related records, including emails and text messages
, computer files, cellphones, and other devices.
The audit will not change the outcome of the election, but Trump and many of his supporters believe it will support their baseless claim that Trump's defeat was tainted by fraud.