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"This is a fake document," Senate audit spokesman Randy Pullen sent in a text message to the Arizona Capitol Times. The "fake" report in question was previously posted to conservative news site the Gateway Pundit.
The draft report that spokesman Pullen was referring to is similar to draft reports obtained by the Arizona Republic and other local media outlets the night before the state Senate dived into its hourslong live presentation of the final report from the Maricopa County election. The draft was published alongside a Gateway Pundit article titled "Arizona Audit Final Report Was Watered Down" and includes a line that states, "Based on these factual findings, the election should not be certified, and the reported results are not reliable."
ARIZONA SENATE REFERS MARICOPA ELECTION AUDIT TO STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION
Pullen, a former Republican Party of Arizona chairman, added that "there was never a discussion about decertifying."
The sentiment was repeated by state Senate President Karen Fann, who commissioned the election recount, numerous times throughout the monthslong audit process.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey also reaffirmed, "There will be no decertification of the 2020 election," in a tweet on Friday.
The lead contractor overseeing the audit, Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, released a statement through spokesman Rod Thomson underscoring that the unofficial draft report was not penned by his firm.
"There is a false version of the Executive Summary of the Maricopa County Forensic Election Audit report that is circulating. This false version claims to be an earlier version of the Cyber Ninjas Executive Summary, but because of supposed threats from the Senate, it was not used. This is absolutely false," Thomson said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
Thomson added that the exact origin of the false report is unknown, noting that no such version was ever sent to the Senate for review.
Michigan attorney Matthew DePerno, who took part in a failed lawsuit alleging fraud in Antrim County, was one of the first people to spread the news of the draft Saturday on Twitter.
"I have been told that Arizona attorney Cory [sic] Langhofer suppressed critical information from the audit report, including the statement that the election must be decertified," DePerno posted, in reference to Kory Langhofer, the state Senate's attorney.
DePerno is seeking a bid for attorney general in Michigan and was recently endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who claimed the Arizona audit exposed fraud during the 2020 election despite the official report making no mention of fraud.
While the state Senate's audit corroborated the number of votes tallied in Maricopa County's canvass post-election, confirming that President Joe Biden received more votes than his predecessor, Fann referred the audit report to the state attorney general for further investigation, citing prior noncompliance issues by county officials with Senate subpoenas and a list of concerns regarding the county's election management.
In fact, Trump had 261 fewer votes than the county's official canvass gave him, while Biden scored 99 more. According to the final report, Biden gained 360 votes in the Senate's hand count. The canvasses after the November election showed Biden winning the county by 45,109 votes and the state by 10,457.
Fann said the audit showed the Senate "how we can strengthen our democracy," and Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Friday he will "take all necessary actions that are supported by the evidence and where I have legal authority."
The Washington Examiner contacted Pullen but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese