The Wards’ phone company received a subpoena in January seeking certain phone records from November 2020 to January 2021.
The Wards’ lawsuit was one of several filed by people whose phone records were subpoenaed in the House investigation, but it is one of the first among them with such a decisive ruling. The phone companies have largely allowed their customers whose records were subpoenaed to block the House from accessing them simply by filing a lawsuit, as many Trump allies have done.
The Wards argued in their lawsuit against the House committee that the phone records demand violated their constitutional rights when they asked a federal court in Arizona to quash the subpoena.
In a ruling on Thursday, Humetewa said she was barred by a legal concept known as sovereign immunity from taking legal action against parliament lawmakers when she found they were acting in their official government capacity in demanding the information. She also dismissed claims the Wards had made against their phone company to prevent production of the records.
The Arizona court cited the ruling by the federal appeals court in D.C. that deemed the committee’s investigation lawful on January 6, when the appeals court rejected a Trump bid to block the release of his records from the White House to congressional investigators. Humetewa also wasn’t convinced the subpoena for the phone records was too broad.
“The Select Committee’s request for information relates to telephone call records from November 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021 from an account associated with a Republican candidate to serve as an election agent for former President Trump,” she wrote. “This three-month period is clearly relevant to its investigation into the causes of the January 6 attack.”