Kari Lake, the Republican who lost the race for governor of Arizona to Democrat Katie Hobbs, was ordered by a judge to pay $33,000 in fees for witnesses who helped defend election officials against Lake’s failed challenge of her defeat. However, the judge denied a request for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for the attorneys who defended the election officials. Lake’s challenge of her loss to Hobbs was unsuccessful.
Judge Peter Thompson of the Maricopa County Superior Court issued an order on Tuesday in which he declined to impose sanctions against Lake and her lawyers. According to the judge, Lake’s failure to prove her case does not “equate to a finding that her claims were, or were not, groundless and presented in bad faith.” This decision was made in response to Lake’s argument that the judge had no choice but to impose the sanctions.
Thompson, who was nominated to his position by former Republican Governor Jan Brewer, referred to a statistical analysis conducted by a pollster who testified on behalf of Lake. The witness, who is not an election worker and manipulates public opinion polls, stated that technical problems at polling stations on Election Day had disenfranchised a sufficient number of voters such that it would have swung the outcome of the contest in favor of Lake.
The analysis was never admitted into evidence at a two-day trial that took place last week because its assumptions were not supported. Despite this, the judge stated that there was no case law to rule out the possibility of using statistical analysis to prove a lawsuit that challenges election results.
Attorneys for Maricopa County and Hobbs, representing her in her roles as the outgoing secretary of state and the governor-elect, had asked for approximately $695,000 in attorney fees and other legal costs, including $33,000 in fees for witnesses. This was in addition to the amount requested for the fees for Hobbs. The attorneys contended that Lake’s complaint was baseless and brought in bad faith and that it should be dismissed.
Lake, defeated by Hobbs by a margin of just over 17,000 votes, was one of the most vociferous 2022 Republican candidates to promote former President Donald Trump’s election lies, which she made the focus of her campaign. Hobbs won the race. Lake has not acknowledged defeat even though most other election contestants around the country did so after losing their elections in November.
On Saturday, Thompson put an end to Lake’s election challenge by dismissing her assertion that issues with ballot printers at some polling stations on Election Day were the product of deliberate misconduct on the part of election officials. The judge concluded that the failures in question did not impact the election’s outcomes.
Attorneys for Lake, who had requested that the court either declare her the winner or order a revote in Maricopa County, formally notified Thompson late Tuesday afternoon that they were appealing his dismissal of the lawsuit. The lawyers for Lake had asked the court to either declare her the winner or order a revote in Maricopa County.
The ballot printers at several polling stations in Maricopa County, which is home to more than sixty percent of Arizona’s voters, were the primary target of the attorneys working for Lake. The flawed printers produced ballots with insufficient contrast, making it impossible for the tabulators located at voting stations to read them. As a result of the uncertainty, some places saw their lines become backed up.
The county officials claim that everyone could vote and that every ballot was counted, even though the polls affected by the printers were taken to the more advanced counters at the headquarters of the elections department.
Lake faced high odds in her challenge, as she needed to prove not only that misconduct occurred but also that it was intended to deny her victory and did, in fact, result in the wrong woman being declared the winner. Not only that, but Lake also needed to demonstrate that the misconduct did result in the lousy woman being declared the winner.
Early in December, a federal judge issued an order requiring the attorneys representing Lake and Mark Finchem, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for secretary of state, to pay the legal costs for defending election officials against Lake and Finchem’s lawsuit. The lawsuit, which failed to require hand counting of all ballots in the November election, sought to require hand counting of all ballots. Lake and Finchem’s attorneys had sought to require hand counting of all ballots.
Attorneys representing Maricopa County officials are requesting that they be paid a total of $141,000 in fees regardless of the sentence size, which the judge has not yet determined. In this case, Lake was not required to make any monetary restitution payments.
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