PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A pair of Republican lawmakers, who supported efforts to withhold Arizona's 11 electoral college votes, are refusing to hand over phone records and text messages from the time they spent in the U.S. Capitol on the day of the riot.

An attorney for Reps. Mark Finchem and Anthony Kern said they did not have to provide the information because they traveled to Washington D.C. as private citizens and are not required to disclose the data under the state's public records laws.

"Our clients will not comply with your records request as to any information stored on or sent from their personal devices," attorney Alexander Kolodin wrote.

The letter was addressed to "Members of the Press" but was a response to the Arizona Republic after requesting the information.

Dan Barr, a First Amendment attorney based in Phoenix, said the refusal to turn over the information was "a lot of nonsense."

Barr questioned whether the lawmakers traveled to D.C. as private citizens since Kerr and Finchem, both supporters of President Donald Trump, used their positions in an attempt to block Arizona from handing Joe Biden the state's electoral college votes.

"These are public records, as public records, they don't belong to state legislatures; they belong to the public, and these legislators have a duty under Arizona law to produce those records," Barr said.

There is no evidence that Finchem or Kern, who is no longer a state lawmaker since his term expired on Jan. 11, took part in any of the rioting that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Finchem maintains that he was never closer than 500 feet away from the deadly riot in which five people were killed. Still, he was the subject of an ethics complaint this month after a Democratic lawmaker accused Finchem of supporting the attack. That ethics complaint appears to be the main reason Kolodin believes the media is asking about the two lawmakers' whereabouts.

"This public records request was brought about because the Democratic members of the Senate falsely, baselessly, and maliciously accused our clients of a capital offense," Kolodin said in a text message Wednesday afternoon.

 

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