Kari Lake files appeal for election lawsuit; judge denies request for sanctions

While the court did not order sanctions, it did permit Maricopa County and Katie Hobbs to recover attorney fees.
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 12:37 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2022 at 6:43 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Maricopa County judge has denied a request by the defendants in Kari Lake’s election lawsuit to sanction her and her attorneys after the judge dismissed her case over the weekend.

Judge Peter A. Thompson handed down the ruling just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, which said that Maricopa County and Katie Hobbs did not meet the standards required for sanctions or attorney fees, noting that although most of Lake’s claims were dismissed, two claims did survive and proceeded to trial. “There is no doubt that each side believes firmly in its position with great conviction,” Thompson wrote, adding that the case didn’t result from claims that were or were not groundless or presented in bad faith.

Hobbs’ lawyers had been seeking around $600,000 to cover their legal costs. Judge Thompson instead award nominal amounts of other fees, totaling just under $34,000, as allowed by Arizona state statute. Over the weekend, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ruled that there was no clear evidence of misconduct by the county that Lake had alleged had affected the result of the 2022 general election.

Lawyers for Lake, who had asked the court to 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.

Democratic Attorney Tom Ryan said he believes the judge held back in favor of what he calls “rough justice.” “By that, I mean we are facing a deadline of January 2nd for new office holders to take office, and he was hoping that by not granting sanctions, it would discourage such an appeal and delay the new officers from taking their office,” he said. Ryan added that he’s of the opinion that Lake’s lawsuit was baseless and that the judge should have instead imposed financial penalties to discourage similar legal challenges down the road.

Arizona’s Family spoke with a spokesperson for Lake’s campaign over text message who said that Lake plans to go through with an appeal of the ruling. Lawyers for Lake focused on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of Arizona’s voters. The defective printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by the on-site tabulators at polling places. Lines backed up in some areas amid the confusion. Lake’s attorneys also claimed the chain of custody for ballots was broken at an off-site facility, where a contractor scans mail ballots to prepare them for processing.