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Former AG Brnovich ignored his investigators' reports that debunked election fraud claims, documents show

AG's successor Kris Mayes releases reports on hundreds of allegations targeting Maricopa County's 2020 results. County Board Chair: "I'm disgusted."

PHOENIX — Former Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich concealed documents that showed his investigators found no evidence to support claims of election fraud in Maricopa County during the 2020 election, according to internal documents released Wednesday by Brnovich's successor, Democrat Kris Mayes.

The documents were first brought to light by the Washington Post. 

3 takeaways from the documents

1. In March 2022, Brnovich's Special Investigations Section submitted a report debunking virtually all claims of wrongdoing. That report was never made public.

2. In April 2022, an email from chief special agent Reginald Grigsby was forwarded to Brnovich's chief of staff. The email included several refutations of claims in a draft "interim report" that Brnovich was preparing for Republican Senate President Karen Fann. Fann had authorized the Senate's partisan election review of the 2020 results. 

The investigators' refutations weren't included in the final report to Fann later in the month.

3. In September 2022, Grigsby authored an "Election Review Summary" that was sent to the chief lawyer for the AG office's Criminal Division.

The summary covered 430 investigations that entailed more than 10,000 hours of work. 

The memo debunked the "high-profile matters," such as allegations resulting from the Cyber Ninjas election review.

Wendy Rogers wanted 'perp walk'

According to the summary, three leading Republican promoters of lies about the election - State Sens. Sonny  Borrellli and Wendy Rogers, and former secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem - failed to provide any evidence backing up their claims.

"Ms. Rogers refused to meet with us, saying she was waiting to see the 'perp walk' of those who committed fraud during the election,'" Grigsby wrote.

Rogers now oversees the Senate committee responsible for vetting election-related legislation.

Brnovich ran for Senate during probe

Probes Two of the investigative documents were produced while Brnovich was running in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in August 2022. He finished third in the five-person field

The final report, in September 2022, came 50 days before the midterm elections.

The Republican nominees at the top of the ticket put denial of the 2020 election results at the center of their campaigns.

Brnovich could not be reached for comment.

Mayes said in a prepared statement:

"The results of this exhaustive and extensive investigation show what we have suspected for over two years – the 2020 election in Arizona was conducted fairly and accurately by elections officials.

"The ten-thousand-plus hours spent diligently investigating every conspiracy theory under the sun distracted this office from its core mission of protecting the people of Arizona from real crime and fraud."

County Leader: 'I'm Absolutely Disgusted'

The relentless promotion of lies about the 2020 presidential election in  Maricopa County spurred death threats against the county officials – all but one of them Republican – who oversaw the election.

County Board Chairman Clint Hickman, a target of those threats, said in a tweet Wednesday, "I am absolutely disgusted by the revelations."

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer tweeted about the falsehoods contained in Brnovich's interim report about the county's cooperation with investigators.

The documents

  • The memo mentions that the office did submit five alleged cases of voter fraud for prosecution based on complaints submitted to the office. Another 11 cases were submitted based on referrals from other agencies.
  • More than 10,000 hours were spent investigating claims of statewide voter fraud but the AG's office found that many of the people making these allegations did not supply proof to support them.
  • The summary mentions how the AG's office was unsuccessful in interviewing some elected officials, like state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who repeatedly made allegations of widespread voter fraud.
  • Under the leadership of Republican Mark Brnovich, the AG's office had grown suspicious of groups making claims of voter fraud. In October 2022, an investigator in Brnovich's office asked the FBI to investigate a nonprofit that had been propagating claims of widespread fraud in Arizona.

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