ARIZONA NEWS

Kari Lake’s lawyers fined in failed Arizona election lawsuit

May 5, 2023, 6:08 AM | Updated: 6:09 am

Former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Karie Lake attends the National Prayer Breakfast ...

Former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Karie Lake attends the National Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 2, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — Republican Kari Lake’s lawyers were sanctioned $2,000 Thursday by the Arizona Supreme Court in their unsuccessful challenge of her defeat in the governor’s race last year to Democrat Katie Hobbs.

In an order, the state’s highest court said Lake’s attorney made “false factual statements” that more than 35,000 ballots had been improperly added to the total ballot count. The court, however, refused to order Lake to pay attorney fees to cover the costs of defending Hobbs and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes in Lake’s appeal.

Chief Justice Robert Brutinel cited Lake’s challenge over signature verification remains unresolved.

Hobbs and Fontes said Lake and her attorneys should face sanctions for baselessly claiming that over 35,000 ballots were inserted into the race at a facility where a contractor scanned mail-in ballots to prepare them for county election workers to process and count.

When the high court first confronted Lake’s challenge in late March, justices said the evidence doesn’t show that over 35,000 ballots were added to the vote count in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of the state’s voters.

Lawyers for Hobbs and Fontes told the court that Lake and her lawyers misrepresented evidence and are hurting the elections process by continuing to push baseless claims of election fraud. Attorneys for Fontes asked for the court to order Lake’s lawyers to forfeit any money they might have earned in making the appeal, arguing that they shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from their own misconduct.

Lake’s lawyers said sanctions weren’t appropriate because no one can doubt that Lake honestly believes her race was determined by electoral misconduct.

Lake, who lost to Hobbs by just over 17,000 votes, was among the most vocal 2022 Republican candidates promoting former President Donald Trump’s election lies, which she made the centerpiece of her campaign. While most other election deniers around the country conceded after losing their races in November, Lake did not.

In her challenge, Lake focused on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County.

The defective printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by the on-site tabulators at polling places. Lines backed up in some areas amid the confusion. Lake alleged ballot printer problems were the result of intentional misconduct.

County officials say everyone had a chance to vote and all ballots were counted because those affected by the printers were taken to more sophisticated counters at election headquarters.

The state Supreme Court declined on March 22 to hear nearly all of Lake’s appeal, saying there was no evidence that 35,000 ballots were added to vote totals.

Still, the high court revived Lake’s claim that challenged the application of signature verification procedures on early ballots in Maricopa County. The court sent the claim back to a lower-court judge to consider. The issue has yet to be litigated.

In mid-February, the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected Lake’s assertions, concluding she presented no evidence that voters whose ballots were unreadable by tabulators at polling places were not able to vote.

Lake’s attorneys said the chain of custody for ballots was broken at an off-site facility where a contractor scans mail-in ballots to prepare them for processing. The lawyers asserted that workers put their own mail-in ballots into the pile rather than returning them through normal channels, and that paperwork documenting ballot transfers was missing. The county disputes the claims.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Stage 2 level fire restrictions soon to be set in place in Arizona...

Serena O'Sullivan

Multiple Arizona recreation areas implementing Stage 2 fire restrictions

Authorities will implement Stage 2 level fire restrictions for various areas in northern Arizona starting at 8 a.m. on Friday.

25 minutes ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Maricopa County Attorney on elder abuse, update on ‘Gilbert Goon’ suspect arrest after sentence

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell joins Arizona’s Morning News to talk about efforts to stop elder abuse. She also says her office will petition to revoke probation after a suspected member of the Gilbert Goons, Jacob Pennington, was arrested on alcohol charges shortly after being sentenced in two separate assault cases. Video: Jeremy Schnell and […]

1 hour ago

Superstition Downtown in Phoenix is closing its doors Sunday...

Serena O'Sullivan

Popular bar, restaurant in downtown Phoenix known for its flavorful mead will shut down this week

Superstition Meadery, a bar and restaurant that serves flavorful varieties of mead, is closing its Phoenix location.

3 hours ago

A headshot of fallen Scottsdale Police Detective Ryan So overlayed on a partial map of the processi...

KTAR.com

Funeral, procession set for fallen Scottsdale Police Detective Ryan So

Fallen Scottsdale Police Detective Ryan So will be honored Thursday morning with a procession through the city following funeral services.

3 hours ago

Center helps people with autism find jobs with business experience...

Serena O'Sullivan

New business center in Phoenix helps students, adults with autism learn job skills

Diana Diaz-Harrison with Arizona Autism Charter Schools said the business programs at a new center will help people with autism find jobs.

6 hours ago

A kitten named "Taylor Swift" was one of the 7,200 pets who received care at the Arizona Humane Soc...

KTAR.com

Arizona Humane Society cares for 7,200 animals in first 100 days at new campus

The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is celebrating its first 100 days at its new five-acre Rob and Melani Walton Papago Park Campus in Phoenix.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Kari Lake’s lawyers fined in failed Arizona election lawsuit