Oct 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge rules Jan. 6 panel can see Arizona GOP chair's phone records

Arizona Chairwoman Kelli Ward speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference on July 24, 2021.

Arizona GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward speaks during a rally. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge in Phoenix has opened the door for the Jan. 6 select committee to receive the phone records of Arizona Republican Party leader Kelli Ward.

Why it matters: The judge rejected Ward's claims that her First Amendment rights would be challenged if investigators uncovered who she spoke with when trying to challenge the 2020 presidential election results.

Details: U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa said Friday she wouldn't stop her own order to require Ward's phone records to be turned over to the Jan. 6 select panel, the Associated Press reports.

  • She said Friday that the GOP chair had failed to show how her First Amendment rights would be harmed by sharing the records with investigators.
  • Humetewa said she found Ward's “alleged concern speculative — and in light of disclosures made during oral argument — dubious," per AP.

Context: Humetewa's ruling comes days after arguments in court over the subpoena, which asked for her cellphone provider T-Mobile to turn over all call and text message activity from November 2020 to January 2021, the Arizona Republic reports.

  • That time period was selected because it includes when Ward helped bring together electors at the state party headquarters to cast votes for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election as if he had won.
  • Trump lost Arizona to Biden in the election, but Ward and others still met, declaring themselves Arizona's “duly elected and qualified” electors, according to the Republic.

The big picture: Ward, who posed as a fake elector for Trump, refused to answer questions during her own testimony with the panel, Politico reports.

  • “She declined to answer on every substantive question and asserted her rights under the Fifth Amendment,” lawyer Eric Columbus told Humetewa at a hearing earlier this month, according to Politico.
Go deeper