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New judge assigned to oversee challenge to GOP vote audit in Arizona

A new judge was assigned on Monday to oversee a closely watched legal challenge to the GOP-led election audit in Arizona after the judge originally hearing the case withdrew from the case. 

The case was reassigned to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel G. Martin hours after Judge Christopher Coury recused himself from the case due to the involvement of an attorney who had worked as an extern in his office within the last five years.

Coury’s recusal came less than 24 hours before a hearing that had been scheduled for Monday morning.

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The audit being carried out by the Republican-controlled state senate includes a recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, as well as a forensic audit of voting machines. 

State Democrats filed a lawsuit last week seeking to halt the audit, arguing that the process would cause “irreparable harm to the integrity of Arizona’s election systems” by compromising the privacy guaranteed to voters in the state.

Coury said last week that he would issue a temporary pause on the audit if the Democratic plaintiffs posted a $1 million bond, which they refused to do. 

The audit, which began on Friday, marks the most aggressive effort by Republican state lawmakers to date to appease former President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE and his most ardent supporters who have continued to claim that the 2020 election results were tainted by widespread voter fraud and systemic irregularities. 

Three earlier reviews of the state’s election results found no evidence of significant fraud. 

Republican state senators in Arizona have hired a Florida-based firm called Cyber Ninjas to oversee the audit. That move has raised concerns among Democrats, because of past tweets from the company’s chief executive spreading conspiracy theories about a stolen election in Arizona. Those tweets were deleted earlier this year.

President BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE carried Arizona in the 2020 election by a scant 10,000-vote margin, making Trump the first Republican presidential candidate to lose the state since 1996.