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Attorney General: Maricopa County must comply with subpoena or risk state funding

Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Maricopa County is at risk of losing state funding if they do not comply with the latest subpoena for election-related materials.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Maricopa County is at risk of losing state funding if they do not comply with the latest subpoena for election-related materials from State Senate Republicans.

In a release, Brnovich said the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors violated state law because the board did not hand over the requested items.

Subpoena in question

The subpoena was sent in July by Senate President Karen Fann and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Warren Petersen. It requested election-related materials from the November 2020 election.

On August 2, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors rejected the subpoena.

In response to the rejection, Republican State Senator Sonny Borrelli requested Brnovich, a Republican who’s running for the U.S. Senate, to investigate the county to see if what they did was legal or not.

Following the investigation, Brnovich stated the county now has 30 days to comply with the subpoena, or he’ll tell the Arizona Treasurer to withhold state funding from the county.

County’s response

“The members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors are aware of the investigative report issued by the Arizona Attorney General. Board members will meet with their legal counsel and determine an appropriate path forward,” A spokesperson for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said in a statement to 12 News.

The board is currently set to meet in the executive session on Monday. The spokesperson said the chairman may add the topic to the agenda.

The Attorney General’s office has said the board has until Monday, Sept. 27 to comply.

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel released a statement on the situation:

“As the individual elected to keep the residents of Maricopa County safe and represent them in the criminal justice system, I can say that withholding state funds from Maricopa County would be catastrophic to public safety and my office’s ability to hold criminals accountable and protect the rights of crime victims.

As the attorney for the County Board of Supervisors, I will not comment on the legal merits of the decision announced earlier today by the Arizona Attorney General.”

Heart of the dispute

At the heart of the dispute are the county’s computer routers that move data through every county department.

Senate Republican contractors want them to test a disproved conspiracy theory.

The board said when they rejected the subpoena they would not hand them over for security reasons, as among other concerns, it could leave the Sheriff’s Office vulnerable to hackers.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone has been opposed to handing over the routers as well.

In a statement to 12 News, a spokesperson for Penzone said:

Sheriff Penzone is steadfast to his opposition to this reckless and irresponsible action by some in the State Senate. AG Brnovich’s legal position is not the final word. Sheriff Penzone is prepared to pursue legal action if necessary to protect the integrity of the Sheriff’s Office technology infrastructure and ultimately to prevent the opportunity for third parties to access confidential and personal information of our private citizens.” 

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