PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County officials on Friday directed the Arizona Senate and the auditors it hired to review the county's 2020 election count to preserve documents for a possible lawsuit.

The county made the demand in a letter after the auditors refused to back down from their claim that the county destroyed evidence by deleting an election database. The GOP-controlled Board of Supervisors and Republican Recorder Stephen Richer, one of the top election officials, say the claim is false.

County officials earlier this week said they might consider filing a defamation lawsuit if the Senate President Karen Fann and the auditors don't retract the allegation files were deleted.

“Because of the wrongful accusations that the County destroyed evidence, the County or its elected officers may now be subject to, or have, legal claims,” the county's chief litigation attorney, Tom Liddy, wrote in a letter to Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican from Prescott.

Senate Republicans are overseeing an unprecedented partisan audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, including a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots and a review of voting machines and other data. Fann claimed the database was deleted, which a twitter account tied to the audit called “spoliation of evidence.” Former President Donald Trump amplified the claim in a statement last weekend.

County officials said Monday that no databases or directories were deleted and laid out a detailed explanation for why they believe the auditors couldn't find them, accusing the auditors of ineptitude. The next day, a data forensics consultant on the audit team said he was able to “recover” the files, and the audit's Twitter account later repeated the claim that files were deleted.

The letter directs Fann and anyone working on the audit to preserve any records related to it, including emails and text messages, computer files, cellphones and other devices.

The audit will not change the election result. But Trump and many of his supporters believe it will support their baseless claim that Trump's loss was marred by fraud.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(2) comments

Tafhdyd

If the Republican fools in the Arizona Senate got in touch with the real world instead of Trump's fantasy world there would be no lawsuit to talk about. Hiring a partisan hack with no background in auditing anything other than conspiracy theories to do a sham audit of a completed election is a farce and insult to the democratic process. Biden won, Trump lost, get over it.

Terence Y

I saw this comment and was wondering what Taffy was ranting about. Turns out it’s just another day, another biased blah, blah, blah political article from the AP. I’m surprised they’re not blaming it on the Russians. Taffy may have partaken of too many sour grapes and is on yet another rant because he’s afraid the Big Lie is true. It’s funny that Taffy has nothing positive to say about bumbling Biden.

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