Ex-Arizona attorney general buried report disproving Trump election fraud claims

Mr Brnovich kept the reports buried as he sought a Senate seat last year

Andrew Feinberg
Wednesday 22 February 2023 20:09 GMT
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a news conference in Phoenix on Jan. 7, 2020.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a news conference in Phoenix on Jan. 7, 2020. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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Louise Thomas

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Former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich purposefully buried a staff report that refuted the myriad false claims of election fraud propagated by former president Donald Trump and his allies while he was running in a Republican Senate primary last year, according to a new report.

According to The Washington Post, Mr Brnovich had commissioned an investigation of 2020 fraud claims that was conducted by staff in his office over the course of 10,000 hours last year.

The staff report found that “virtually all” the claims of “error and malfeasance” floated by Trump-backed groups claiming his loss to Joe Biden in 2020 was tainted to be completely unfounded.

But Mr Brnovich didn’t release that report. Instead, he put out an April 2022 “interim report” declaring that “serious vulnerabilities” had been found in the election system, ignoring edits made by his own staff that debunked such assertions.

The Post also reported that the ex-Arizona top prosecutor’s office compiled what they described as an “election review summary” in September of last year, which “systematically refuted accusations of widespread fraud and made clear that none of the complaining parties — from state lawmakers to self-styled “election integrity” groups — had presented any evidence to support their claims”.

Yet Mr Brnovich, who failed to win the GOP senate nomination and left office at the end of last month, kept that summary buried as well. It was only made public this week by his successor, Attorney General Kris Bayes.

The records the ex-prosecutor suppressed comprise 41 pages, including two “investigative summaries” and a “draft letter,” the Post said.

Although he did not assist Mr Trump in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, Mr Brnovich engaged with the false fraud claims posited by the disgraced ex-president while he was seeking higher office in last year’s election.

Ms Mayes told the Post she was releasing the records because she wants to redirect her office towards protecting voting rights and protecting election workers, rather than pushing conspiracy theories.

“The people of Arizona had a right to know this information before the 2022 election,” she said. “Maricopa County election officials had a right to know that they were cleared of wrongdoing. And every American had a right to know that the 2020 election in Arizona, which in part decided the presidency, was conducted accurately and fairly.”

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