Arizona GOP chair sues to block Jan. 6 panel’s records subpoena
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A protester sits in the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. Pro-Trump protesters have entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation’s capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and her husband, Michael Ward, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging a subpoena from the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The subpoena sought phone records from Nov. 1, 2020, through Jan. 31, 2021, for four phone numbers associated with the Wards and Michael Ward’s business, Mole Medical Services. Both Wards were among the Arizona Republicans who signed a bogus document claiming that Donald Trump won the state in the 2020 election.
The Wards’ suit asks the court to block their phone company, T-Mobile, from delivering those records to the committee.
The subpoena is “overbroad,” the Wards said, because it is “unrelated to the enabling resolution of the issuing Committee” and doesn’t make a clear connection between the records and potential legislation.
The Wards have not been accused of being at the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, and they say their involvement with the slate of fake electors has no connection to the attack, which limits the committee from seeking their records, they say.
A statement last week from the office of Jan. 6 committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, (D-Miss.), announcing subpoenas for people who led slates of fake electors in seven states said the fake electors were directly tied to the Jan. 6 attack. Some advisers to former President Donald Trump used the false slates as justification for blocking the certification of the vote in a joint session of Congress that day.
“The Select Committee is seeking information about attempts in multiple states to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including the planning and coordination of efforts to send false slates of electors,” Thompson said in the statement. “We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme.”
The Wards, both of whom are doctors, also said the records subpoena should be blocked because they use the phone numbers to communicate with patients, and that releasing phone data would compromise protected medical information.
The Wards’ case was initially assigned to U.S. District Judge Susan M. Brnovich, who is married to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has asked Mark Brnovich to investigate the group of fake electors for improperly using the state seal without permission from her office.
Susan Brnovich signed an order Wednesday recusing herself and assigning the case to Judge James F. Metcalf by random lot.
Attorneys for the Wards did not return messages Wednesday.
The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol and the Arizona GOP did not immediately return requests for comment.
States Newsroom DC reporter Jennifer Shutt contributed to this report.
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