The Arizona Supreme Court has rebuffed a request by Cyber Ninjas to throw out the now-defunct digital security company’s $50,000-a-day penalty for withholding public records about its highly controversial audit of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County.
Justice Ann Scott Timmer wrote in Thursday’s order that Cyber Ninjas’ request should be filed with the Arizona Court of Appeals. The company “has not adequately explained why it cannot initially seek relief from that court,” Timmer wrote.
A lawyer for former Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan had argued that the fines are “very punitive” and that the decision to impose them was based on inaccurate information in the news, and not solely on facts presented in court.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah imposed the fines against Cyber Ninjas in early January after finding the company in contempt of court for its continued refusal to produce emails, text messages and other documents generated from what critics of the election audit often disparaged as a “fraudit.”
During a deposition later in January, Logan declared that he did not plan to turn over any documents the court had deemed public in response to an open records request. Logan said he would wait for what he called a “clear” ruling that he said he intended to then appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Cyber Ninjas had argued earlier that its communications and documents aren’t subject to public records law, but two Superior Court judges and the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the company was performing a government function on behalf of the Arizona Senate, which had hired it to carry out the audit.
Cyber Ninjas quickly shut down in January after the fines were imposed, and Logan reportedly began “liquidating” the company’s assets.
The Arizona Republic, one of the parties seeking access to the public records, asked the court in February to make Logan and his wife the defendants since the company was apparently dissolved. it’s unclear whether that happened, since Cyber Ninjas Inc. is still listed as the petitioner in the state Supreme Court case.