HomePoliticsJudge Rejects Maricopa County's Push to Punish Kari Lake

Judge Rejects Maricopa County’s Push to Punish Kari Lake

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Friday, Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson of Maricopa County, Arizona, denied Maricopa County’s request to sanction Republican Kari Lake for her lawsuit contesting Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’ November election victory.

In their motion for sanctions, the county, Hobbs, and Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes requested that Lake be “severely sanctioned” with penalties in addition to having her legal expenditures covered.

After a three-day trial, Thompson ruled on Monday that Lake’s legal team did not provide enough evidence to conclude that Maricopa County did not comply with Arizona law during its signature review process for mail-in ballots for the general election.

In his decision, Thompson noted that during the trial, Lake’s legal team identified 274,000 signatures that were compared in less than two seconds and 70,000 signatures that were reviewed in less than one second.

However, he concluded that Arizona law did not specify a minimum time for review, so it was up to Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer to determine what review was sufficient.

In its motion for sanctions, Maricopa County stated that Lake’s attorney “brought frivolous arguments and frivolous claims before the Court. This conduct warrants meaningful sanctions.”

Thomas Liddy, the attorney for the county, cited Lake’s counsel’s statement during the trial that “this election was rigged.”

“Lake and her counsel then failed to introduce any evidence during the three day trial to support this wrongful statement. Wrongfully and publicly asserting that the election was ‘rigged’ is heinous and profoundly harmful,” Liddy argued in his motion.

In his ruling on sanctions, Thompson outlined the criteria for instituting sanctions under Arizona law. A judge may sanction an attorney “who brings or defends a claim without substantial justification or primarily for delay or harassment,” he wrote.

“The statute defines ‘without substantial justification’ as ‘groundless’ and ‘not made in good faith.’ A.R.S. § 12-349(F). A claim is ‘groundless’ if its proponent can present no rational argument based on the evidence or law to support it.”

Thompson then summarized Maricopa County’s perspective on Lake’s argument by writing, “She proceeded to trial on a claim she knew lacked factual merit based on her own witness’s statements.”

However, the judge wrote, “This view mistakenly looks beyond trial to the ultimate resolution of the merits and does not allow for presentation of evidence to prove a disputed claim.”

More on this story via The Western Journal:

Rather, the whole point of the trial was to give Lake’s legal team the opportunity to prove its claim that “Maricopa County officials, instead of attempting to cure ballots, systematically pushed mismatched ballots through for tabulation without following the required procedures.” CONTINUE READING…

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