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Government attorney says Kelli Ward can't block Jan. 6 committee subpoena of phone records

By Nick Sanchez
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Saturday, August 13, 2022 - 8:55am

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Kelli Ward
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Kelli Ward

State GOP chair Kelli Ward has no legal right to block a U.S. House committee from getting her phone records about her activities leading up to the Jan. 6th insurrection, an attorney for the government is telling a federal judge.

Douglas Letter said Ward “participated in multiple aspects” to interfere with the electoral count that was taking place.

“She told Maricopa County to stop counting ballots, and promoted inaccurate allegations of election interference by Dominion Voting Systems,” wrote Letter, who is the general counsel for the U.S. House. And then there’s the fact that even after the state’s election results were certified showing Joe Biden won Arizona, she and others convened as electors for Donald Trump “and sent a set of unauthorized Electoral College votes to Congress that she misdescribed as ’representing the legal votes of Arizona.’”

In filing suit earlier this year, Ward argued that providing her phone records would violate her rights and those of her husband, Michael, who, like her, is a doctor. She also said it would expose her patients who go to her for weight loss.

Ward also argued the Select Committee is operating illegally. That’s because only nine members were appointed to what was supposed to be a panel of 13 after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to accept some suggestions from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

But Letter told U.S. District Court Judge Diane Humetewa everything the committee did, including issuing the subpoena, complied with congressional rules.

He also urged the judge to reject Ward’s claim that going after her phone records violates her First Amendment rights, including the right of “political association.”

“The subpoena does not seek the content of any communication,” Letter said. Instead, he said, it seeks only the information about who Ward communicated with, when, and for how long.

“None of the data reveals any speech or associational rights protected by the First Amendment,” Letter told Humetewa.

And even if they did — a point he is not conceding — it would be “outweighed” by the overwhelming interests of Congress.

“The Select Committee’s subpoena seeks records relevant to determining the root causes of the Jan. 6th insurrection against Congress, a violent attack on the seat of our nation’s government that resulted in the deaths of several law enforcement officers and deepened public distrust in our political processes,” Letter said.

And there’s something else. Letter said Ward has no legal standing to challenge the subpoena.

“The Select Committee is not criminally investigating the Wards or anyone else,” he wrote. “Nor is the Select Committee, by investigating the Jan. 6th attack trying to expose information for the sake of exposure.”

But Letter told Humetewa that the mere prospect that misconduct may be exposed does not make the subpoena improper.

“And Dr. Kelli Ward’s extensive efforts at overturning the presidential election ... provide ample basis for issuing the subpoena,” he said.

T-Mobile, the company that provides Ward’s phone, submitted its own request to have the subpoena quashed.

Humetewa has set no date for a ruling.

Ward and others have received a separate subpoena from the Department of Justice over their role in submitting the slate of fake electors to Congress.