Cyber Ninjas, the controversial Florida company that conducted a bungle-plagued audit of Arizona votes in the 2020 presidential election, a recount pushed by Donald Trump and state senators over baseless claims of fraud, has folded, a spokesperson announced.
“Cyber Ninjas is shutting down. All employees have been let go,” Rod Thomson, the spokesperson for CEO Doug Logan, said in a text message Thursday evening. It was unclear who besides Logan was involved in the firm and who made the decision to shut it down. A LinkedIn page on the company indicates as few as two employees.
The news comes after Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah said on Wednesday that he would impose a $50,000 fine against Cyber Ninjas each day until it handed over documents related to its audit in response to a public records request by The Arizona Republic, The Associated Press reported.
Cyber Ninjas, which had no election experience before conducting the audit, actually confirmed Joe Biden’s victory in Maricopa County some seven months after the recount began and in fact showed Biden won by a wider margin. It did, however, raise challenging questions about the election, which were dismissed out of hand, even by a number of Republicans.
County election officials released a scathing report Wednesday rebutting almost every claim in the ballot review. It concluded that nearly 80 claims made by Cyber Ninjas were misleading or false.
The operation was headed by Logan, a QAnon conspiracy acolyte, who predicted months before the audit even began that “hundreds of thousands of votes” would inevitably be found for Trump. It was unclear who besides Logan was involved in the cybersecurity company.
It was funded by hardline right-wingers and other extremist conspiracy theorists, including Trump’s onetime national security adviser and felon Michael Flynn, lawyer Sidney Powell — who has been hit with a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems — and two reporters for the right-wing OAN news operation.
The audit was trouble from the start.
Workers hired to pore over ballots were spotted with blue pens in their hands, which are prohibited in recounts because they can change votes. Logan apparently was surprised to learn that.
One of the auditors was a former local lawmaker who was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Former state Rep. Anthony Kern’s name was also on the ballots he was examining — as both a candidate for reelection (he lost) and as an elector for Trump.
Ballots were bizarrely examined for traces of bamboo in a bid to prove the Chinese hacked the votes. And truckloads of voter data were spirited away to a cabin in a wooded area of Montana, 1,300 miles from where votes were cast, for secretive special examination.
The Washington Post reported that Trump was thrilled about the Maricopa County audit, and in April he was asking for updates “multiple times a day.”
The Arizona vote was certified Nov. 30, 2020, by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey after several official recounts failed to find any irregularities. Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes in the state. He edged out Trump by more than 2 percentage points ― about 45,000 votes ― in Maricopa County. Trump continues to insist, though, that widespread voter fraud in several swing states led to his reelection loss. No such fraud was ever found.