Maricopa County seeks sanctions over Kari Lake’s failed election lawsuit

May 24, 2023, 8:31 AM | Updated: 11:34 am

Maricopa County is seeking sanctions against Kari Lake and her attorneys over the Republican’s la...

Former Arizona Republican candidate for Governor Kari Lake holds a press conference on May 23, 2023, the day after Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson dismissed Lake's final election loss claim, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County is seeking sanctions against Kari Lake and her attorneys over the Republican’s latest failed challenge to her loss in Arizona’s 2022 gubernatorial race.

County Attorney Rachel Mitchell filed a motion for sanctions on Tuesday, a day after Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson ruled that Lake failed to prove her claim that Maricopa County did not verify signatures on mail ballots as required by law.

“Lake and her counsel engaged in a program of intentional and repeated fallacious misstatements of fact to mislead this Court. This conduct is plainly unethical and warrants sanctions from this Court,” the filing says.

In addition to asking the judge to determine a sanction amount, the county is seeking reimbursement of attorney fees and other costs related to its defense.

“These people need to suffer consequences for these continued lies and these continued attacks at important institutions,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday.

The case was the last remaining legal claim in Lake’s efforts to overturn her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs. She filed suit after losing to Hobbs by about 17,000 votes, asking the courts to install her as governor or order a new election.

Lake’s legal team already was sanctioned once over the course of the case. The Arizona Supreme Court fined her attorneys $2,000 last month for claiming more than 35,000 ballots were inserted to the total ballot count during the appeals process. The state’s highest court said Lake’s attorney made “false factual statements.”

That wasn’t the first time a judge penalized Lake’s lawyers in connection with an election-related lawsuit.

The attorneys for Lake and co-plaintiff Mark Finchem, a Republican candidate for Arizona secretary of state, were ordered to pay Maricopa County’s legal fees for filing a lawsuit in June 2022 that sought to ban the use of ballot tabulation machines. After dismissing the case, a judge said the lawyers were liable for the fees because the suit “lacked an adequate factual or legal basis.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Maricopa County seeks sanctions over Kari Lake’s failed election lawsuit