Lawyers for unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who have made their name in the cottage industry of seeking to overturn elections for MAGA candidates, are now trying to bat back sanctions after their latest court loss.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson dismissed Lake’s lawsuit to overturn her election on Saturday following a two-day trial.
Lawyers for Maricopa County, joined in their arguments by the team representing Arizona Governor-elect Katie Hobbs (D), are asking the court to sanction both Lake and her lawyers “to impart to them the seriousness of their misuse of the courts to seek to undermine Arizona elections and impugn hardworking elections workers and officials for purely political — not legal — purposes.”
Lake was represented by Kurt Olsen, who spearheaded attempts to overturn the 2020 election and spoke to Donald Trump on Jan. 6, and Bryan Blehm, who represented the tech company Cyber Ninjas in lawsuits stemming from the infamous partisan audit of Arizona’s 2020 election results.
Thompson dismissed eight of Lake’s 10 claims off the bat, letting her go to trial on the last two — centered on technical issues with ballot printer machines and the ballot chain of custody — to prove that there was intentional misconduct to throw the election to Hobbs. Lake’s lawyers, who blundered through the trial, failed to turn up enough evidence to convince the court that the election was poisoned.
“Plaintiff’s claims were also made in bad faith, as demonstrated by her scattershot approach to litigation, her claims’ lack of legal and factual merit, and this action’s place as part of a larger scheme carried out by Plaintiff to spread disinformation about elections and election results in Maricopa County,” lawyers for Maricopa County wrote. “And she has not stopped.”
They point Lake’s Twitter account where she amplified in a now-deleted tweet the conspiracy theory that lawyers including Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic elections lawyer whose firm was retained by Hobbs, ghostwrote Thompson’s decision for him.
“A few days ago I asked what conspiracy theory Kari Lake would offer for why she lost her election contest lawsuit,” Elias tweeted in response. “It is more insane than even I predicted.”
“Plaintiff has a First Amendment right to voice her opinions,” Lake’s lawyers countered.
Lake’s lawyers maintain that they did present proof, if not enough to sway the court’s mind, and dubiously claim that they demonstrated that there were a specific number of illegal votes that eclipsed the 17,000-plus vote margin between Hobbs and Lake.
“Trust in the election process is not furthered by punishing those who bring legitimate claims as Plaintiff did here,” they write. “In fact, sanctioning Plaintiff would have the opposite effect.”
Maricopa County is seeking $25,050 in fees to cover the two days of trial, though the lawyers point out that much more work was done outside the couple days of arguments and questioning. Hobbs is asking for $550,210 in lawyer fees, plus another $80,000-plus for the two days of trial work and ballot inspection.
Lake has already vowed to appeal Thompson’s decision.
“Courts are established by Arizona’s Constitution and statutes to resolve actual disputes between parties,” County lawyers wrote. “They do not exist so that candidates for political office can attempt to make political statements and fundraise. And they should not be used to harass political opponents and sow completely unfounded doubts about the integrity of elections.”