Judge rules Jan. 6 committee can access Arizona GOP chair’s phone records
A federal judge ruled Thursday that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection can access the phone records of the Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman, Kelli Ward.
U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa ruled against a motion that Ward and her husband, Michael, made in an effort to quash the subpoena in February. Kelli and Michael Ward, who co-own a medical practice, argued in their motion that the subpoena would violate their constitutional rights and their patients’ confidentiality.
But Humetewa rejected the argument that the subpoena violates their rights, finding that the concerns mentioned in their arguments are “highly speculative.”
Kelli and Michael Ward argued that the subpoena could have a chilling effect on the First Amendment right to association for them and the entire state Republican party. They also said the people Kelli called or texted could be contacted by the committee and implicated in the “largest criminal investigation in U.S. history.”
Humetewa said in her ruling that the court must presume the committee will act in a responsible manner and with “due regard” for Wards’ rights. She also said that no evidence was provided to prove that turning over the relevant phone numbers would create a chilling effect on their or the Arizona Republican Party’s right to association.
Kelli and Michael Ward also argued that the phone numbers they would provide could be used to identify their patients and violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which prevents most health care providers from disclosing health information without a patient’s consent.
Humetewa encouraged both sides to discuss how to protect possible protected health information but declined to quash the subpoena on that basis.
Both Wards were reportedly among the members of a slate of alternate electors who sought to declare former President Trump the winner of Arizona in the 2020 presidential election despite President Biden’s victory in the state.
Kelli Ward did not immediately return a request from The Hill for comment through the Arizona Republican Party.
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