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Arizona Lawsuit for Enforcement of Senate Subpoena Dismissed

Published: December 27, 2020
On Dec. 21, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Eddie Farnsworth and Arizona Senate President Karen Fann filed a lawsuit demanding the Maricopa County Superior Court make the county comply with two subpoenas related to election data by Dec. 29.
An Arizona lawsuit that sought to enforce senate subpoenas has been dismissed by the court. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Judge Randall Warner dismissed the lawsuit on Dec. 23, noting that a “writ of mandamus” is not a good remedy for enforcing the subpoenas. A “writ of mandamus” is a court order that instructs the government officials to fulfill the necessary duties associated with their position. 

“Although respondents are public officials, they are in this context the subjects of a subpoena and their duty to comply arises from the subpoena, not from their offices… There is no basis in Arizona statute for treating the subject of a subpoena differently because they are a public official,” Warner said in the decision order. He also pointed out that the Senate leaders should have approached the State Legislature first and used its enforcement mechanism of the two subpoenas. 

In the state of Arizona, Biden’s lead over Trump is just 10,457 votes

Arizona’s state law allows the Senate to pass a resolution that commits the subpoena subject as legislative contempt, which is a class 2 misdemeanor. The witness of the subpoena can then be arrested and produced before the Legislature. Though Warner dismissed the lawsuit, he indicated that the Senate can file a new case on the issue under laws that focus on the enforcement of subpoenas issued by public officers.

Biden only has a 10,457 vote lead on Trump in Arizona. (Image: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons)

In Maricopa County, Biden leads Trump by 45,109 votes. The Senate Judiciary Committee had issued two subpoenas with the aim of ensuring that the voting machines used during the election in the county functioned without any issues. One subpoena seeks to procure an electronic ballot image cast for all mail-in ballots that were counted in the election. The second subpoena sought a complete forensic audit of ballot tabulation equipment, the software used in the equipment, and the election management system employed for the presidential election.

Instead of complying with the subpoena, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors filed a complaint in the state’s Superior Court against the lawmakers from the Arizona State Legislature. In response, the president of the Arizona Senate filed a lawsuit that states the lawmakers were overwhelmed with complaints and concerns from citizens who doubted the integrity of the presidential election and wanted to know whether their votes were counted correctly. The senators would use the audit results to decide whether to reject or certify the presidential electors for Biden. The U.S. Congress will be meeting on Jan. 6 to count the electoral votes. Meanwhile, the Republican Party in Arizona filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit that was filed by Maricopa County against state senators.

In an interview with War Room: Pandemic, Trump’s campaign advisor Boris Epshteyn noted that Maricopa County’s decision to dismiss the subpoena raises a red flag. “That actually seems to be a major miscalculation by the County Board of Supervisors, because if they had nothing to hide, they would turn it over and say: ‘Here’s a subpoena, it’s a lawful subpoena from the state Senate’ … What they did instead is, [they] waited till the very last hour, and then they went to court to try to squash the subpoena. So they’re trying to do several things here. They’re trying to run out the clock, and they’re trying to not share the information, which, of course, raises the question of, what are they hiding?” he said on the program.

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