Judge sides with news outlet, orders Cyber Ninjas to preserve election-related records

The cybersecurity firm Cyber Ninjas has been at the center of an ongoing audit of the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Now, the Arizona Republic reports that a judge has ordered the auditors to preserve all records related to their review of the 2020 race.

“Performance, funding, and staffing”

According to the Arizona Republic, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah wrote in his decision that Cyber Ninjas and other defendants in the case “are ordered to carefully secure, protect and preserve from deterioration, mutilation, loss or destruction any and all records in their custody, possession or control that are reasonably necessary or appropriate to maintain an accurate knowledge of their official activities” concerning the race.

Included in the order is the preservation of “records of the performance, funding, and staffing of said audit.”

According to reports, the judge wants the records to be preserved in order to release them publicly at some point in the future.

This development comes amid a legal battle regarding whether Cyber Ninja’s audit is subject to the state’s Public Records Law. There have been two such legal battles — one brought by the Arizona Republic and another from America Oversight, a nonprofit organization with ties to former President Barack Obama.

The intent of both lawsuits was to attain access to the audit’s records. Hannah’s decision specifically dealt with the Arizona Republic lawsuit.

Details of the case

At the root of the argument for access to the auditors’ records is the assertion that Cyber Ninjas is working under the direction of the U.S. Senate, which itself is subject to the state’s Public Records Law. The counterargument, however, is that such regulations do not apply to records in the possession of government contractors.

Courts have already ruled that the records are subject to the laws and, as such, the Arizona Senate has been complying with an order to release the records to the public. The remaining legal dispute stems from records in the possession of Cyber Ninjas that have not yet been turned over to the state Senate.

For its part, Cyber Ninjas is calling for Hannah to be replaced as the presiding judge in the case. That request is still being considered, but Hannah ordered that the records must be preserved in the meantime.

As for the audit, efforts have largely stalled in recent weeks as Cyber Ninjas claims it had not received the information necessary to continue the investigation. A report is expected in the near future, but it was reportedly delayed when several auditors contracted COVID-19.

It now appears that, for better or worse, the public will soon know more about the audit and its findings thus far.

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