An Arizona judge has fined Cyber Ninjas, a firm hired by the state Senate to conduct a review of Maricopa County’s election results, $50,000 a day until it turns over records from the review to The Arizona Republic, the outlet reported.
On Aug. 24, 2021, Maricopa Superior Court Judge John Hannah ordered the firm to turn over public records including emails and text messages, among others, to the Republic. In his Thursday ruling, Hannah found Cyber Ninjas in contempt of that order.
The Republic in June 2021 sued Cyber Ninjas and the state Senate for records and asked for $1,000 a day in sanctions against the company, according to the outlet.
Hannah said that Cyber Ninjas’s noncompliance was deserving of sanctions 50 times higher than the $50,000 a day he was imposing, the Republic reported.
“It is lucidly clear on this record that Cyber Ninjas has disregarded that order,” Hannah said in the ruling, according to the outlet. "I don’t think I have to find Cyber Ninjas is not acting in good faith. All I have to do is find they are not complying, and their noncompliance is not based on good faith and reasonable interpretation of the order. I think the variety of creative positions Cyber Ninjas has taken to avoid compliance with this order speaks for itself."
Hannah also said he wants to put the firm “on notice,” saying he will issue individual orders for those responsible for providing the records if Cyber Ninjas continues not to comply, the outlet reported.
"Our goal here is not to get sanctions, it is to get documents," Craig Hoffman, attorney for the Republic, said at Thursday’s hearing.
Hannah’s ruling came three days after the state’s court of appeals ordered Cyber Ninjas to pay the Republic over $31,000 in legal fees following a failed appeal by the firm, according to the outlet.
Cyber Ninjas has turned over some of the documents from its review to the state Senate, the Republic reported. It remains unclear how many related records the firm still has that are subject to court orders.
Cyber Ninjas previously suggested to the court that the Republic should pay the federal rate for providing public records, claiming that producing them would cost the firm around $65,000 to $70,000, the outlet noted.
Maricopa County has said Cyber Ninja’s election review was incorrect.