Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer explains why he’s suing Kari Lake

Jun 27, 2023, 2:00 PM

Maricopa County, Arizona, Recorder Stephen Richer, left, is suing losing gubernatorial candidate Ka...

(Getty Images Photos)

(Getty Images Photos)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer doesn’t care if you make fun of his looks, but falsely accusing him of criminal activity crosses a line.

Richer, a Republican, filed a defamation lawsuit against losing 2022 GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake last week in an effort to stop her from repeating false and harmful statements, he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

“This lawsuit is not about, ‘I’m ugly’ or ‘I’m terrible’ or ‘I’m the worst’ or something along those lines, which of course is First Amendment protected,” Richer said.

“This is about a number of specific statements that have accused me of doing, intentionally, a specific unlawful act that would be truly awful, that would cause me to abandon my oath of office, that would be a serious crime — that multiple courts have said is false.”

The suit takes issue with two claims in particular — that Richer intentionally had 19-inch ballot images printed on 20-inch paper, causing counting problems, and that he injected 300,000 bogus ballots. It details nearly three dozen times she made the claims publicly on social media or at rallies and news conferences.

“That’s not even an area of the election administration that I have control over,” he said of the image size allegation.

“And, so, we pointed this out time after time, hoping with patience that we could just correct the record, we could let her know, and then the comments would stop — but they wouldn’t stop.”

Richer’s suit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, names Lake, her campaign and her political fundraising group as defendants. It says Richer has faced death threats and has spent thousands of dollars on home security.

In addition to unspecified monetary damages, Richer is seeking a court order declaring Lake’s statements false and requiring her to delete them from social media.

“After exercising a good amount of patience, we’re using what may be the last club in our bag to try and put an end to this,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer explains why he’s suing Kari Lake