PHOENIX — Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward refused to answer questions during a deposition of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, an attorney for the panel revealed Tuesday during a court hearing in Phoenix.
Attorney Eric Columbus told a federal judge that Ward asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when she complied with a subpoena from the House committee.
The detail about Ward’s deposition came at a hearing where lawyers urged a federal judge to block the committee from getting her phone records while she appeals. US District Judge Diane Humetewa ruled on Sept. 23 that Ward’s arguments that her phone call records should be secret did not pass legal muster.
Ward attorney Laurin Mills cast the phone records fight as one with major implications for democracy, on par if not bigger than the violent insurrection that unfolded at the Capitol.
“This is the first time in American history that a select committee of the United State Congress controlled by one party has subpoenaed the records of the state chair of the rival party,” Mills said.
He said the outcome will set important precedent, not just for the current case but for others that will come when Republicans ultimately control Congress.
The House Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol is seeking phone records from just before the November 2020 election to Jan. 31, 2021. That would include a period where Ward was pushing for former President Donald Trump’s election defeat to be overturned and while Congress was set to certify the results.
Kelli Ward and her husband Michael Ward were presidential electors who would have voted for Trump in the Electoral College had he won Arizona. Both signed a document falsely claiming they were Arizona’s true electors, despite Democrat Joe Biden’s victory