Federal judge says court can’t block House subpoena for Jan. 6 GOP state seat

Justice Diane Humetewa found that the court did not have the power to curtail the House’s investigative steps when Wards sued the committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Wards’ phone company received a subpoena in January seeking certain phone records from November 2020 to January 2021.

The Wards’ case was one of the first of the House’s investigations of people whose phone records were subpoenaed, but it is one of the first with such a decisive verdict. The phone companies have largely allowed their subpoenaed records to be withheld from the House, a challenge that many Trump allies have made.

The Wards argued in their lawsuit against the House committee that the phone records request violated their constitutional rights, as they asked a federal court in Arizona to quash the subpoena.

In a ruling on Thursday, Humetewa said a legal concept known as sovereign immunity prevented him from taking action against House lawmakers who he found were engaging in official government requests for information. Wards also dismissed claims against the telephone company to prevent them from producing the records.

The Arizona court cited a Jan. 6 decision by a federal appeals court in D.C. that ruled the commission’s investigation legitimate, when the appeals court rejected Trump’s bid to block the release of White House records to congressional investigators. Humetewa also wasn’t convinced the subpoena for phone records was too broad.

“The Select Committee’s information request relates to phone call records from November 1, 2020, to January 31, 2021, from an account associated with a Republican nominee to serve as an elector of former President Trump,” he wrote. “This three-month period is very important to investigate the reasons for the January 6 attack.”