OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The Maricopa County, Arizona recount and audit of the 2020 presidential election is ongoing, but there has been a new plot twist.
Late on Sunday night, a Superior Court judge had to recuse himself from overseeing the recount after new documents came in, ABC15 reported.
Judge Christopher Coury said his recusal came after receiving new documents from attorneys defending Cyber Ninja’s, the company that was hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to conduct the audit.
The lawsuit, filed by the Arizona Democratic Party on Thursday, asked Coury to grant a temporary restraining order to stop the audit from moving forward after the party raised security concerns.
On Friday, Judge Coury ruled that the audit could be paused if Arizona Democrats paid a $1 million bond to cover any losses endured during the stop of work. State democrats declined to do that.
“In the documents filed today, several attorneys appeared whose names previously were not on notices of appearance prior to Friday’s hearing. That is not surprising, given the short fuse in which the hearings have proceeded. The involvement of one attorney whose name appeared on the filings for the first time today requires me to recuse,” Judge Coury said in an email to the attorneys on the case.
Democrats are furious that the audit is happening at all.
“The Arizona Democratic Party will not risk our supporters’ hard-earned dollars to pay off the Cyber Ninjas for a procedure they are billing Arizona taxpayers to the tune of $150,000,” party chairwoman Raquel Teran said.
“On Friday, the Judge affirmed our claims that the @AZSenateGOP and Cyber Ninjas do not have policies and procedures in place to protect the sanctity of the ballots,” Maricopa Co. Supervisor Steve Gallardo said on Twitter on Sunday. “The Ninjas still have not produced any procedures or security plans as ordered. They are clearly unqualified.”
Arizona’s Democrat Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, was not thrilled with the idea of having an audit.
“My concern grows deeper by the hour,” she said, The New York Times reported. “It is clear that no one involved in this process knows what they are doing, and they are making it up as they go along.”
Karen Fann, the president of the state Senate, said that the audit had no hidden agenda and that no matter what the audit found it could not change the results of the election.
“A lot of our constituents have a lot of questions about how the voting, the electoral system works, the security of it, the validity of it,” she said. And she said that the Senate needed to bring in experts to figure out “what else could we do to verify the votes were correct and accurate.”
Democrats in the state are, ironically, concerned about the security of the audit too, but not for the same reasons as Trump, AZ Family reported.
“I think the fact of the matter is that there have been numerous legitimate audits that have shown that there were no discrepancies,” Senate Democrat Sen. Rebecca Rios said.
Donald Trump is thrilled that the audit is happening and has called for the recount to be secured by the National Guard.
“The Republican Party is demanding that Governor Ducey of Arizona immediately provide large-scale security for the brave American Patriots doing the Forensic Audit of the 2020 Presidential Election,” the 45th President of the United States said.
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) April 24, 2021
“Governor Ducey will be held fully responsible for the safety of those involved. State police or National Guard must be immediately sent out for protection. The Democrats do not want to have this information revealed, and they will do anything to stop it. Governor Ducey must finally act!” he said.
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Trump thanked Arizona state congressional Republicans for their continued effort to make certain that the vote in the state is accurate.
Trump statement on forensic audit in Arizona. 🇺🇸🦅 pic.twitter.com/8tIKGZVas6
— PatriotAU 🇺🇸🦅 (@PatriotAU) April 23, 2021
“Why are the Democrats so desperate to stop this Election Fraud from being revealed? That answer is obvious! The Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, has been shocking of zero help to the State Senate. He wants to ‘pretend’ the election was free and fair. What are he and the Maricopa County Commissioners trying to hide?” he said in the email.
“Our country needs the truth of the scam 2020 Election to be exposed. If it is not, just as if we have ‘no borders,’ we cannot be a Great Nation. Honest elections are America’s Heart and Soul. We must never allow this to happen to our Great Country again. Thank you State Senators and others in Arizona for commencing this full forensic audit. I predict the results will be startling!” he said.