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Attorney for Senate President Fann asks AZ Supreme Court to block release of 700 audit records

An attorney for state Senate President Karen Fann is making another attempt to keep more than 700 public records related to the audit of the 2020 election secret. 

Kory Langofer told the Arizona Supreme Court that the conversations around the audit could result in future legislation, and thus fall under legislative privilege. 

Not all the justices were convinced that those conversations were policy discussions that need to be private. 

"It doesn't allow a trial judge to fairly determine whether or not, in fact, that particular communication does fall within the proper ambit of legislative privilege." Justice William Montgomery said. 

Andy Gaona representing American Oversight, which is suing for the records, says such a ruling would leave groups without the ability to seek judicial review when records are withheld due to legislative privilege. 

"The burden is on the public body to establish that a record that is presumptively public, to get to Justice Montgomery's question, should be withheld because it's detrimental to the best interests of the state." Gaona said. 

While the Senate has surrendered some of the records, it has withheld various documents, including communications between Fann, Sen. Warren Petersen, and auditor Cyber Ninjas’ liaisons.

No ruling date has been set, but what the court decides could create new legal precedent for public records requests. 

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.