Cochise County board votes to hire lawyer who represented Cyber Ninjas
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- After Secretary of State Katie Hobbs filed a lawsuit against Cochise County’s board of supervisors, the board responded by holding an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon to decide who would represent them in the legal matter. The board voted unanimously to hire Bryan Blehm, the same attorney who represented Cyber Ninjas, the group that ran the controversial Maricopa County audit of the 2020 election. Blehm will represent the board in the lawsuit filed by Hobbs after they refused to certify the 2022 general election results.
However, there’s the question of how the board will pay for legal representation. The board can’t legally accept outside donations to pay for the lawsuit or for any other purpose. Officials didn’t say how they’d pay for Blehm. However, it’s unclear if he’d take the case because he hadn’t picked up the phone by the time the meeting started.
Also on Tuesday, Terry Goddard, former Arizona attorney general, and Rick Romley, former Maricopa County attorney, called for a criminal investigation into the Cochise County Board of Supervisors. In the letter to current Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre, the pair says the supervisors broke at least three laws for not certifying the election. Goddard and Romley asked Brnovich and McIntyre to hold the officials accountable, saying their actions “threaten to undo the proper administration and integrity of elections, disenfranchise thousands of voters, and potentially even alter the results of some races.” They added there’s no legal basis for the board’s refusal to certify.
Arizona state law required counties to certify the results within 20 days of the election. Cochise County voters were angry with their elected officials for breaking that law and failing to meet Monday’s deadline. Voters yelled at elected officials during the board’s regularly scheduled Tuesday morning meeting, with some calling it a “clown show.” “This assault on democracy will not stand,” one person said. “Help, I’m in Cochise County, where the board of supervisors is lost in conspiracy theory land and has taken their votes with them,” another person said. “And I’ve never seen our county on the national news. I just heard the international news as a clown show. I’m ashamed.” Some voters said they wanted the two officials who refused to certify the election to resign.
The comments captured the anger directed toward GOP board members amid pressure from prominent Republican politicians. The board voted 2-1 on Monday to delay the canvass until at least Friday. Hobbs previously said the Secretary of State’s Office won’t have a choice but to complete the canvass by Dec. 8 at the latest, which would flip the Superintendent of Public Instruction and U.S. House Congressional District 6 seat from Republican to Democrat.
Meanwhile, Republican Kari Lake refuses to concede in the governor’s race. Lake has claimed tens of thousands of voters were disenfranchised but didn’t provide any evidence. However, should the Republican-led Cochise County board refuse to certify the election by next week, the 47,000 votes won’t count toward the state canvass.
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