Cyber Ninjas asks Arizona Supreme Court to block daily fine

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Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, center, is flanked by Ben Cotton, left, founder of digital security firm CyFIR, and Randy Pullen, right, the former Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, prior to the Arizona Senate Republicans hearing review of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County at the Arizona Capitol Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Cyber Ninjas Inc. is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to throw out a $50,000 per day fine imposed by a Maricopa County judge because the company has failed to release public records about the state Senate’s 2020 election review.

Cyber Ninjas has tried repeatedly to get the Supreme Court to weigh in on lower court rulings that found it is subject to the state public records law, but the justices have declined to take the case. The latest petition, dated Monday, repeats a petition filed in November, which the court rejected, and adds the claim that the $50,000 fine was improperly imposed.

That daily fine started accumulating in January and has grown to more than $3 million.

Cyber Ninjas was the chief contractor hired to lead the Senate’s unprecedented review of election materials from Maricopa County, including ballots and counting machines. The company is fighting public records requests lawsuits filed by the parent company of The Arizona Republic newspaper and American Oversight, a left-leaning watchdog group.

Lawyers for Cyber Ninjas argue their records are not subject to the public records law, but two Superior Court judges and the Arizona Court of Appeals have rejected that argument. They say Cyber Ninjas was performing a core government function on behalf of the Senate.

In the latest petition to the high court, Cyber Ninjas lawyer Jack Wilenchik argues the $50,000 fine was meant to punish the company and that it was imposed based on Judge John Hannah’s reading of news articles, not solely on facts formally presented in court. He also alleges Hannah made political contributions to liberal causes.

Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, has said he lost money on the audit, the company is insolvent, and he has no money to cover the cost of determining which company records pertain to the audit.

The Cyber Ninjas petition this week also revealed for the first time that Maricopa County’s top civil lawyer, Tom Liddy, filed an extensive public records request in November. It asks Cyber Ninjas to turn over records that include communications with former President Donald Trump and his representatives, legislators, members of Congress, and conservative media personalities. It also asks for any documents the Cyber Ninjas team used in reaching its conclusion that showed a net increase of votes for President Joe Biden.

Cyber Ninjas never responded to the records request, said Fields Moseley, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

“We believe the records will help us understand their research methods that led Cyber Ninjas to arrive at so many misleading and false conclusions,” Moseley said.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.