Judge says Jan. 6 panel may get Arizona Republican Party chair's phone records

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Yuma International Airport in Yuma, Arizona

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward to block a subpoena by the congressional panel probing the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack, clearing the way for the committee to access her phone records.

Earlier this year, the panel said it had issued subpoenas to people who had knowledge of or participated in efforts to send false "alternate electors" to Washington for then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Ward, a former Arizona state senator and chair of the state Republican Party, was among them. Her husband also received a subpoena.

The House of Representatives committee's request "relates to phone calls records from November 1, 2020, to January 31, 2021, from an account associated with a Republican nominee to serve as elector for former President Trump," Arizona-based U.S. District Court Judge Diane Humetewa said in an 18-page ruling.

"That three-month period is plainly relevant to its investigation into the causes of the January 6th attack," the judge wrote. "The court therefore has little doubt concluding these records may aid the select committee’s valid legislative purpose."

It was not immediately clear whether Ward intended to appeal the ruling. She was not immediately available for comment. She has previously said the demand for the phone records violated her constitutional rights.

The committee is planning to hold its next hearing on Sept. 28, the panel's chairman said on Tuesday.

The committee held eight hearings over six weeks in June and July, disclosing the findings of its more than yearlong probe of events surrounding the deadly assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters after weeks of false claims by him that he had won the 2020 election.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington)