Cyber Ninjas' Arizona Election Probe Lawyer Asks to Quit, Alleges He Isn't Being Paid

The attorney representing Cyber Ninjas, the cyber-security company that conducted the widely criticized audit of 2020 election data from Maricopa County, Arizona, is asking the judges in multiple lawsuits to allow him to quit, alleging the company hasn't paid him.

Jack Wilenchik has requested withdrawal from cases brought against Cyber Ninjas by American Oversight, a government watchdog group, and The Arizona Republic newspaper over records of how the audit was conducted that the prosecution in both cases say should be public.

In the request to the judge overseeing The Arizona Republic case, Wilenchik alleged he hadn't been paid by the company, while he cited "professional considerations" in his request in the American Oversight case.

Attorneys for American Oversight said in a Monday court filing that if the judge allows him to quit, the conclusion of the case and potential public release of the records would be delayed, stopping the public from learning how and why the audit was commissioned by state Senate Republicans, and how Cyber Ninjas conducted it.

"In sum, the jig is up, and Cyber Ninjas' longstanding effort to avoid disclosure of public records relating to the audit would seem to be finally coming to an end,'' American Oversight attorney Keith Beauchamp wrote. "But Wilenchik's eleventh-hour maneuver to avoid production could thwart this Court's orders because, of course, Cyber Ninjas cannot appear except through counsel."

Cyber Ninjas, Arizona Election Audit, Jack Wilenchik
Jack Wilenchik, the lawyer representing Cyber Ninjas in multiple lawsuits relating to the Arizona 2020 general election audit, is asking judges in the cases to allow him to quit because, he alleges, the company hasn't paid him. Above, contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, hired by the Arizona state Senate, examine and recount ballots from the election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021, in Phoenix. Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

The filing from American Oversight also said he has not given the court any reason to allow such delay and has continued his "pugnacious approach" to defending his client in the face of repeated losses and court orders to hand over the records.

Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan has been called to give a deposition to American Oversight's lawyers on Jan. 5.

Wilenchik didn't immediately respond Tuesday to calls and emails from the Associated Press seeking comment. Neither did a spokesman for Logan, Rod Thomson.

Online court records do not list a response yet from the Republic's lawyers, who were not immediately available to comment.

Cyber Ninjas has argued for months that it is not subject to the public records law because it is a private company. Two different judges and the Arizona Court of Appeals have ruled that records Cyber Ninjas possesses that have a "substantial nexus" to the audit are public and must be released. They held that the "audit" done for Senate Republicans after former President Donald Trump lost in Arizona to President Joe Biden was a core government function and that makes the records public.

Cyber Ninjas is asking the state Supreme Court to overrule the Court of Appeals decision, and Wilenchik has not withdrawn from that case. The high court has declined to put the lower court orders on hold and could consider the appeal next month. In the meantime, Cyber Ninjas still has not provided the records to the Senate so it can release them.

Wilenchik told a judge last month that Cyber Ninjas has no money and can't afford to pay for the review or redaction of records.

"Who's paying for that?" Wilenchik said to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah. "Because the plaintiff is not, the Senate is not, and this company is insolvent."

Cyber Ninjas has released some documents but maintains it is doing so voluntarily. Among them is a financial statement suggesting the ballot review cost nearly $9 million. Cyber Ninjas received $5.7 million from political groups led by Trump allies who have aggressively promoted the former president's false claims that the election was stolen from him, along with $1 million paid by donors directly to subcontractors. Altogether, Cyber Ninjas reported a net loss of more than $2 million from the audit.

The audit, released in September, found that Biden got 360 more votes in Maricopa County than initially reported out of 2.1 million ballots cast. It produced no proof to support Trump's false claims of a stolen election, and experts described it as riddled with errors, bias and flawed methodology.

A final review of some computer logs has not yet been completed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.