Jan. 6 committee can see phone records of Arizona GOP chairwoman

Jan. 6 committee can see phone records of Arizona GOP chairwoman

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in Arizona ruled Thursday that the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol can see the phone records of the Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and her husband.

In a February lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge Diane J. Humetewa rejected the arguments by the Wards that the congressional panel should not be allowed to get the phone records of the couple, who are doctors, because it would violate medical privacy laws.

In January, the state GOP chair and her husband, Michael Ward, were among 14 of 84 so-called alternate electors subpoenaed by the committee because they claimed in bogus documents that then-President Donald Trump had won the 2020 election in their states.

The judge wrote in her 18-sided filing Thursday that the House committee's information request is related to phone calls from November 1, 2020, January 31, 2021, from an account associated with a Republican nominee to serve as the elector for former President Trump. She wrote that the three-month period is clearly relevant to the investigation into the causes of the January 6th attack. The court has no doubt that these records may aid the select committee's valid legislative purpose. Humetewa also dismissed the arguments of the Wards that the subpoena seeking their phone records violated their First and 14th Amendment rights and that releasing the records would risk that those they had contacted could be involved in the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history. The judge also rejected the plaintiffs' assertion that the subpoena would result in harassment, like the death threats they had previously received, because those incidents had already occurred. The Department of Justice has been investigating the fake electors. The Jan. 6 committee, which is expected to hold its final hearing Sept. 28, has compelled many of them to testify, alleging that they were part of the broader scheme by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election.