Democrat Attorney General Kris Mayes, who replaced Mark Brnovich in office last month, released documents showing that two employees disagreed with Brnovich on the credibility of some of the complaints the office received about voter disenfranchisement. Mayes issued a press release on Wednesday based on the opinions of two employees, Assistant Chief Special Agent Keith Thomas of the Criminal Division and Attorney General (AGO) Chief Special Agent Reginald “Reggie” Grigsby.
Grigsby made waves when he wrote a letter to the FBI last October suggesting the agency investigate True the Vote after the organization attempted to inform the AGO’s Criminal Division about ballot harvesting featured in the film 2,000 Mules.
Mayes criticized Brnovich for not following Grigsby’s opinion in an internal memo that Grigsby authored in September. Mayes quoted Grigsby’s memo, “In each instance and in each matter, the aforementioned parties did not provide any evidence to support their allegations. The information that was provided was speculative in many instances and when investigated by our agents and support staff, was found to be inaccurate.”
Jennifer Wright, the AGO’s Election Integrity Unit civil attorney under Brnovich, disagreed with Grigsby’s conclusion, saying the office could not obtain the evidence to conduct a full investigation due to stonewalling by Maricopa County officials. “Regardless, the Sept ‘22 criminal report appears to have a lot of places with ‘undetermined’ outcomes due to lack of ability to review records under the control of ‘election officials,’ she tweeted on Wednesday. “Doesn’t seem very cooperative to me.”
Regardless, the Sept ‘22 criminal report appears to have a lot of places with “undetermined” outcomes due to lack of ability to review records under the control of “election officials”. Doesn’t seem very cooperative to me 👇🏼https://t.co/G8alaszrCr
— Jen Wright (@JenWEsq) February 22, 2023
Mayes’ statement went on, “The results of this exhaustive and extensive investigation show what we have suspected for over two years – the 2020 election in Arizona was conducted fairly and accurately by elections officials. The ten thousand plus hours spent diligently investigating every conspiracy theory under the sun distracted this office from its core mission of protecting the people of Arizona from real crime and fraud.”
Mayes listed several allegations that she claimed were invalid, including duplicate ballots and dead voters. She included three documents with her press release. Besides Grigsby’s memo, there was a marked up version of Brnovich’s interim report on his investigation into the 2020 election discrepancies that was sent to then-State Senate President Karen Fann, containing suggested additions recommended by Grigsby that Brnovich rejected. The changes included adding that Maricopa County “followed its policy/procedures as they relate to signature verification” and that there was no “criminality or fraud.”
Grigsby also recommended adding that “investigators have concluded that the training provided to signature verifiers is adequate for the tasks they are asked to Perform.” Additionally, Grigsby wanted to state that Maricopa County “was cooperative and responsive to our requests.”
In contrast, Brnovich’s interim report was highly critical of election discrepancies and the county’s noncompliance. “Maricopa County occasionally chose a combative and/or litigious approach to providing requested information rather than assuming a posture of transparency,” he stated. “The obstruction became such an issue that State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Apache Junction) issued a subpoena to the Maricopa County Supervisors demanding to know why (the AGO does not have that subpoena authority).
He also said the investigation found “serious vulnerabilities that must be addressed and raises questions about the 2020 election in Arizona.” There were “problematic system-wide issues that relate to early ballot handling and verification, and the signature verification system in place within Maricopa County is “insufficient to guard against abuse.” He also stated that “Maricopa County failed to follow critical procedures when transporting early ballots from drop locations to the election headquarters.” The EIU estimated 100,000 to 200,000 ballots fell into this category.
A third document Mayes included with her press release was a report from September on the 2020 election authored by Assistant Chief Special Agent Keith Thomas of the Criminal Division. It dismissed all of the voter disenfranchisement complaints as unfounded or undetermined. Brnovich did not release that report before he left office. A source who preferred not to be identified told The Arizona Sun Times that the Criminal Division of the AGO was “deep state,” filled with mask-wearing progressives.
Wright tweeted on Wednesday that after she sent Maricopa County a letter asking for records again for the fourth time, with no response since her first letter six months before her departure at the end of December, an elected official texted unprofessional comments that could be construed as an attempt to interfere with an on-going investigation. “If I recall, right after I sent this letter (or another letter around the same time) an elected official texted my boss ‘Reign Jen Wright in’ — as if the letter might have been unauthorized and with some misogynistic tone that I can or should be ‘reigned in.’ We laughed.”
Wright suggested that Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer was the elected official who contacted her supervisor. In a follow-up tweet, she stated regarding the interim report, which was addressed to then-State Senate President Karen Fann, “What’s sad is Richer KNOWS this letter remained outstanding. The letter to Fann reflected the experiences of both criminal and civil. Sadly though, people like him do things like this,” with an arrow pointing at the earlier tweet.
She added, “Time and again, myself and @GeneralBrnovich remained professional and never made personal attacks; time and again, @stephen_richer throws tantrums on twitter. Now I can respond to his childish antics by refuting his misinformation. I can’t be reigned in.”
Richer tweeted that criticism of him and other county officials not cooperating with Brnovich’s investigation was not true. “A: “Maricopa County didn’t cooperate,” he said. “B: ‘But sir, Maricopa County DID cooperate. They worked with us every day for many weeks.’ A: ‘Meh. Let’s just say it anyway.’ That seems ethical…”
Wright tweeted back that she had requested records from the county four different times and they did not produce them, attaching copies of her last letter that included a summary of previous letters. Another tweet added, “And here’s the 2nd half of my 5 page letter of PRR deficiencies that, as of my departure, remain unanswered (note many items had been requested several months before this).”
Wright questioned during a radio interview with KNST’s Garret Lewis why Mayes didn’t reveal her input to Brnovich’s interim report, which was the “opposite” of Grigsby’s suggested changes. “She did not create a clear picture of what happened,” Wright said. “[Maricopa County] hid and obscured documents, and now they’re taking a victory lap.” She explained, “[Brnovich] withheld a report that was incomplete because it lacked the documents to make it complete.” Wright speculated that due to the timing of a mainstream media article about it in The Washington Post, immediately followed by statements by county leadership, there was collusion between the officials and the media on Mayes’ story.
Wright warned, “I hope this makes the Arizona Supreme Court aware of how above the law the county leadership believes they are.” She told Lewis how the county official who wanted her to be reigned in had a habit of sending “unhinged texts” to people, so they contemplated getting a cease and desist order against him. “We are a law enforcement agency, and we are in the middle of an investigation, and he starts texting us to stand down?”
Wright explained that the reason reason there weren’t many occurrences of votes by dead people was because it is very difficult to prove those votes; trying to get people to come forward and admit they took action to vote for the deceased is difficult.
Mayes’ office stated to the press last month that Wright had been fired, prompting Wright to threaten a lawsuit and produce evidence that she had voluntarily resigned well before Mayes took office. She joined the legal team in Abe Hamadeh’s election challenge, who is challenging his loss to Mayes, due to Mayes targeting her.
While Mayes slammed the work of the EIU and said last month that she will be changing its focus to voting access, she hasn’t gone after the other attorney and two staffers in the EUI, who are within the Criminal Division, unlike Wright and are responsible for prosecuting voter fraud.
Democrat Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes told CBS5 News/3TV journalist Dennis Welch that Brnovich should be disbarred. The 65 Project is an organization founded by progressives that files bar complaints against conservative attorneys who get involved in election integrity litigation.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.