3-Judge Panel Orders GOP Chair’s Phone Records Turned Over

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A three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request by Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward to block a subpoena from the House committee investigating January 6 for a portion of her phone records. T-Mobile would be providing the records.

Ward was one of those who signed on as Trump electors from Arizona despite Biden’s win there, and she was supportive of the plot to assemble essentially faked electoral votes for Trump from a comparatively early point. Per comments from Arizona lawyer Jack Wilenchik, Ward was also apparently already eyeing the early January proceedings to certify the presidential election outcome before any legitimate electors even formalized their votes. That interest is in contrast with another defense employed for the faked electoral votes — that those involved were just keeping Trump’s options open should he have prevailed in election-related litigation. It’s also difficult to take that argument seriously, since there has never been any legitimate indication of evidence discrediting the election outcome, meaning there has also been no evidence pointing to a court battle turning out in Trump’s favor and changing the race results.

Ward relied on First Amendment protections in making her defense against the subpoena. The three-judge panel, whose conclusions weren’t unanimous, wasn’t convinced. “The investigation, after all, is not about Ward’s politics; it is about her involvement in the events leading up to the January 6 attack, and it seeks to uncover those with whom she communicated in connection with those events,” two of the judges said. “That some of the people with whom Ward communicated may be members of a political party does not establish that the subpoena is likely to reveal ‘sensitive information about [the party’s] members and supporters.'” The two judges who voted against Ward’s push to block the subpoena were nominees of Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

Ward has also previously argued against the riot committee’s push for phone records on the basis of privileges associated with her and her husband’s work as doctors. Michael Ward was also a Trump elector — or so-called Trump elector.

Ward scored a temporary victory when this three-judge panel put the subpoena on hold in recent days, but they’ve now undone that step. She also lost at the District Court level, when federal Judge Diane Humetewa ruled against her. “That three-month period is plainly relevant to its investigation into the causes of the January 6th attack,” Humetewa remarked. “The court therefore has little doubt concluding these records may aid the select committee’s valid legislative purpose.” The House riot committee has now also officially subpoenaed former President Donald Trump for documents and testimony. In other testimony-related news, Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison after a jury convicted him of contempt of Congress for defying the riot panel’s demands, although federal Judge Carl Nichols agreed to suspend the sentence pending Bannon filing a reasonably prompt appeal.