Cyber Ninjas shut down after facing $50,000-per-day fine

Cyber Ninjas was run by Doug Logan, a businessman who supporter Mr Trump and repeated 2020 election fraud claims

Arizona secretary of state blasts GOP election audit

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Cyber Ninjas, the pro-Donald Trump company that conducted the "embarrassing" Maricopa County, Arizona audit of the 2020 election, is shutting down after it was threatened with massive fines.

The Florida-based company fired all of its workers – of which there were between two and 10 – and said it would close for good in an announcement on Thursday.

The company's closure comes as a response to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah, who threatened to fine the company $50,000 for every day that Cyber Ninjas refused to turn over documents related to the audit.

Those records, which have been ruled public, were requested by The Arizona Republic, Arizona’s largest newspaper. When Cyber Ninjas refused to hand over the documents, The Arizona Republic filed a complaint, which resulted in the fines.

A lawyer representing the company, Jack Wilenchik, said that since the company has dissolved it can't afford to sift through its documentation to find the requested records.

Mr Hannah did not buy that explanation and said the $50,000 fines would begin accruing on Friday. He also noted that he would apply the fine to individual members of the company if they still refused to comply.

“The court is not going to accept the assertion that Cyber Ninjas is an empty shell and that no one is responsible for seeing that it complies,” Mr Hannah said.

He said that if it were true that the company could not afford to look for the records, it could simply hand all of its documentation over to the Arizona state Senate and allow legislative lawyers to determine which documents are subject to public records laws.

Mr Wilenchik and Cyber Ninjas have argued that their records are not subject to private records law because they are a privately owned company. However, no judge has ever agreed with their reasoning, and have instead have ruled that private companies conducting core government functions on behalf of a government agency are – and long have been – subject to public records law.

Cyber Ninjas was hired by Arizona state Senate President Karen Fann to conduct the "forensic audit" of the 2020 election in Maricopa County. The company's CEO, Doug Logan, is an outspoken supporter of Mr Trump and had appeared in a film questioning the result of the 2020 election. Cyber Ninjas had no experience with election audits at the time they were hired.

The private company-led, highly politicised audit was an utter failure. Not only did the audit take months longer to complete than initially scheduled, but the team ultimately found no evidence of widespread voter fraud or voter irregularities.

State Senator Paul Boyer, a Republican, criticised the audit, claiming it made the party and lawmakers look bad.

“Who wouldn’t support an audit? But the way they’re doing it, it’s embarrassing. It makes me embarrassed to be a state senator at this point...I feel like we’re in this fantasy land. I still have yet to see any evidence [of fraud], and I don’t think it’s coming,” he said.

Cyber Ninjas filed a report in September making 75 claims of voting irregularity it found in the county. The audit team claimed that, for one reason or another, 53,000 ballots cast in Maricopa County were potentially invalid. Recently, Maricopa County's election team issued a 93-page response to Cyber Ninjas' claims, refuting every point the company made.

Of the 75 claims that Cyber Ninjas made, the county's analysis provided data to debunk every single one. Thirty-eight of the claims were found to be inaccurate, 25 were deemed "misleading" and 11 of them ruled total falsehoods.

Ultimately, even Cyber Ninjas own ballot count confirmed that Joe Biden won Arizona.

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