One of the attorneys representing 11 Republicans who contend the 2020 general election was tainted by statewide fraud and illegality has asked a federal judge in Phoenix to seal a handful of witness statements due to “a reasonable fear of harassment and threats to their physical safety and their livelihoods in retaliation for their coming forward with their testimony.”
Attorney Alex Kolodin made the request to keep four affidavits and declarations -out of 20- from the public record in a pleading filed in advance of a hearing Tuesday at which U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa will decide whether the plaintiffs are due an evidentiary trial, or if their Dec. 2 lawsuit should, as Secretary of State Katie Hobbs argues, be dismissed for lack of standing and failure to contest the election results earlier.
Nearly 3.5 million Arizonans voted in the general election. The state’s certified election results show former Vice President Joe Biden bested President Trump by 10,457 votes, meaning Biden will receive Arizona’s 11 electoral votes when the U.S. Electoral College meets Dec. 14.
The plaintiffs are the 11 Republican electors who contend they would be able to cast Arizona’s electoral votes for Trump but for “the commission of election frauds” in violation of state law and the U.S. Constitution. Their lawsuit alleges Hobbs certified the canvassed election results of Arizona’s 15 counties on Nov. 30 despite claims that votes were “steeped in fraud.”
Gov. Doug Ducey is also named as a defendant, but he too will argue Tuesday for Humetewa to dismiss the lawsuit.
“In their Complaint, Plaintiffs fail in any way to link Governor Ducey’s ministerial duties in the elections process to their voter-fraud theories,” the motion to dismiss states. “Furthermore, Plaintiffs’ requests for relief from the Governor are moot because Governor Ducey has already performed his non-discretionary, ministerial acts in connection with this election: observing the final statewide canvass and transmitting a ‘certificate of ascertainment’ to the National Archivist.”
If the Republican Electors make it past Tuesday’s hearing then the parties will return to court Thursday for an evidentiary hearing on the merits of the case. That is when Humetewa will decide whether to issue a court order authorizing the seizure of all equipment, ballots, and election materials used in the general election so it can be inspected and forensically audited.
The plaintiffs also want access to all security cameras from inside the Maricopa County Tabulation and Elections Center on Nov. 3 and 4.
Humetewa has allowed Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors and Recorder Adrian Fontes, as well as the Arizona Democratic Party to intervene in the case. The intervenors have filed their own motions to dismiss.
Kolodin and his associate Christopher Viskovic have represented several plaintiffs in state court election challenges involving Maricopa County. He is joined in the federal case by multiple attorneys -including Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and Howard Kleinhendler- who have garnered national attention for their involvement in other litigation supporting Trump’s campaign.
But despite what happens this week in Humetewa’s court, Kolodin says the case “goes up on appeal no matter who wins.”
The federal judge’s handling of the case is reversed from how three election challenges recently played out in Maricopa County courtrooms. All three of those state court challenges were dismissed, but not until judges conducted evidentiary trials in an effort to get as much testimony and exhibits on to the record in the event of an appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.
It was through the testimony in those cases that Maricopa County elections officials confirmed they knew of problems with Sharpie ink bleed-through on ballots as early as Oct. 22. And that county staff and poll workers knew of widespread issues with the software used to duplicate overseas military ballots and damaged ballots.
The Republican Plaintiffs-Electors are state GOP chair Kelli Ward, Tyler Bowyer, Michael John Burke, Nancy Cottle, Jake Hoffman, Anthony Kern, Christopher M. King, James R. Lamon, Sam Moorhead, Robert Montgomery, Loraine Pellegrino, Greg Safsten, Salvatore Luke Scarmardo, and Michael Ward.