Arizona judge orders Kari Lake to reimburse Katie Hobbs for some election lawsuit fees, but refuses to sanction herThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
A Maricopa County judge on Tuesday ordered Arizona Republicans Kari Lake to compensate Democratic governor-elect Katie Hobbs for some legal fees related to the election case Lake had contested her loss, but he did not sanction Lake for filing the suit.
Judge Peter Thompson dismissed Lake’s case on Saturday, concluding there was no clear or convincing evidence of wrongdoing and upholding Hobbs’ victory. This decision on Christmas Eve was a great defeat for Lake, who lost to Hobbes by about 17,000 votes in November and sued in an attempt to overturn the election.
Lawyers for Hobbs – the current secretary of state – had charged that Lake and her lawyers knew their challenges to the election could not be sustained, which would have violated legal ethics rules. They wanted sanctions against Lake and her team. Thompson disagreed. “The Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims presented in this litigation are not frivolous or frivolous,” he wrote Tuesday.
But he ordered Lake to pay Hobbs $33,040.50 in restitution for expert fees and reaffirmed the selection of Hobbs, who will be sworn in Jan. 5.
The recent rulings are the latest rebuke to election deniers across the country and return to a long streak of legal losses that former President Donald Trump suffered in 2020 as he tried to challenge his election loss. Maricopa County, which encompasses the Phoenix area and is home to the majority of Arizona’s population, has been a hotbed of baseless fraud allegations during the midterm and 2020 elections.
In a tweet after Saturday’s ruling, Lake, who sat in the courtroom during the trial but did not testify, said she would appeal the ruling “in the name of restoring faith and fairness in our elections.”
A former television journalist from Arizona, Lake built her campaign around her support of Trump’s lies about widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. She has since doubled down, claiming she won the 2022 election.
Thompson previously dismissed eight allegations in Lake’s lawsuit before trial, ruling that they did not constitute a proper basis for an election contest under Arizona law, even if true. But he had allowed Lake to try to prove in a two-day trial last week two other charges involving printers and the Maricopa County ballot chain of custody.
Under Thompson’s ruling Saturday, Lake’s team had to show that someone intentionally caused the county’s on-demand voting printers to malfunction — and as a result, enough “identified” votes were lost to change the outcome of the election.
“Every single witness before the court denied any personal knowledge of such misconduct. A court cannot accept speculation or conjecture in lieu of clear and convincing evidence,” Thompson wrote.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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