I really don’t understand the Board of Supervisors’ strategy. Now they’ve sent notice of intent to sue Sen. Fann, the auditors, and their little dog, too.
LITIGATION HOLD NOTICE &DOCUMENT PRESERVATION REQUEST
Because of the wrongful accusations that the County destroyed evidence, the County or its elected officers may now be subject to, or have, legal claims. Likewise, we have reason to believe thisaudit is not being done in accordance with Arizona law. Accordingly, as set forth in detail below, you must preserve all documents related to your “audit”, including any and all communications between you and any other member of the Senate or their staffs, and also any communications between you and your agents, including, but not limited to, Ken Bennett, Cyber Ninjas, CyFir,Wake TSI, and those firms’ various owners, officers, employees, agents, subcontractors, or volunteers that they utilized in the conduct or furtherance of the “audit” you and they are conducting.
For purposes of this discussion, I’ll assume the auditors’ claim that a directory was deleted is correct. If this goes to court, we’ll see how that plays; but for now, let’s say it’s so.
For some reason, the Maricopa BOS does not want anyone looking into the election system or process. In the spirit of “if you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide,” that seems odd.
I have a theory… nay, not even that; a hypothesis at this point: Somehow, the BOS was persuaded that outsourcing their elections to Dominion was legal and cost effective. That persuasion might have been advice from attorneys and and election experts; that’s fine and proper. But — purely speculative — what if the persuasion were in the form of corrupt practices, bribery or kickbacks, for instance? The BOS might have thought they were buying leasing an honest system, but allowed themselves to be improperly influenced in which honest system to obtain.
The latter would probably run afoul of assorted corruption and official misconduct statutes. So that’s potentially something the BOS might want to hide. If that were the cases, I’d find their initial conduct comprehensible, if offensive.
But now… a database directory was (reminder: for purposes of this discussion) deleted. That runs afoul of more serious state and federal laws on election data retention, and could be interpreted as an attempt to conceal something even worse. An attempt to hide deliberate election fraud, perhaps?
Kickbacks in the award of contracts is old hat in America. Given the state of our legal system, it might never go to court. If it did, most likely a slap on the wrist. Probably the worst that would happen is the folks involved in awarding the contract getting voted out of office.
If the BOS’ hypothetical misconduct ended with the system procurement contract, the misuse of that system later — intentional or unintentional — that misuse wasn’t the BOS’ fault. Let the audit continue. Take their lumps for the procurement, and let the more serious offenders take the rap for the far more serious issue of the misuse/potential fraud.
Instead, the BOS, through the County’s attorney, is siding with whomever apparently misused the election system. And their attorney is doubling down by making false claims of her own, to wit:
Two incorrect assertions in one clause.
County: The auditors did not claim that the county took the action of deleting the directory. In fact, in the meeting with the state Senate president, the auditors were very careful to note that they did not know who deleted the directory.
Destroyed evidence: The auditors did not say that the directory was destroyed; they said it was deleted. In computers, which a computer forensic expert would be using to describing computer forensics, “deleted” means “drive space marked as available for reuse.” The data is not destroyed until it is overwritten. Clearly, the data was not overwritten/destroyed, because the auditors recovered the data prior to that happening.*
So yeah; I’m bewildered by the BOS choosing to join the apparent election misconduct crowd, instead of limiting their culpability to some comparatively minor contract award shenanigans. Kinda makes you wonder… but that wanders off into territory beyond even hypothesis at this time.
* Side note: Arizona’s Secretary of State, whining that the auditors may have altered the systems, should note that the auditors copied the EMS drives by making disk images. The images were what they examined to determine a deletion had occured. The images are where they recovered the deleted data. The original EMS drives would be left unaltered, as evidence of potential misconduct.
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