By Jack Phillips
The campaign of Arizona Republican candidate Kari Lake responded to a district court imposing a fine on her lawyers after filing an election-related lawsuit earlier this year.
Judge John Tuchi of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, who rejected a Lake lawsuit earlier this year, moved to fine attorneys for Lake and Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem on Dec. 3.
“Imposing sanctions in this case is not to ignore the importance of putting in place procedures to ensure that our elections are secure and reliable,” Tuchi wrote in his order. “It is to make clear that the Court will not condone litigants ignoring the steps that Arizona has already taken toward this end and furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process. It is to send a message to those who might file similarly baseless suits in the future.”
But in response, Lake’s team disputed Tuchi’s order and accused him of being a politically motivated actor. A Lake campaign statement noted that Tuchi was appointed by former President Barack Obama.
“This case is not about money or gain,” Lake’s campaign spokesperson Ross Trumble told media outlets in a statement. “It was essentially a public interest lawsuit seeking electoral integrity. It is very very rare to sanction a party in public interest suits. All in all this reads like an angry Obama appointee who wants to send a message. The message is if you lose shut up and don’t come to court. The message is not that you lost a case or acted in bad faith.”
Representatives for Lake’s campaign and Finchem’s campaign didn’t respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment by press time.
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz was one of the attorneys in the case filed by Lake and Finchem. Dershowitz told Law & Crime last week that he joined the lawsuit to support election transparency.
“I have not challenged the results of any Arizona elections. I have given legal advice about the future use of machine counting by companies that refuse to disclose the inner workings of their machines. I support transparency in elections,” he said.
Appearing on Steve Bannon’s WarRoom podcast on Dec. 3, Lake said she would “continue to fight for the people of Arizona” despite the sanctions imposed by the judge.
“This is not about me. I’ve said this all along; I’m just one voter, but I care deeply about Arizona. It is not fun to be in the middle of this,” Lake said. “But we have no other choice. I have no other choice but to stand up and fight right now for the people of Arizona. If I don’t, who will?”
More Legal Activity
A Maricopa County official said a separate lawsuit by Lake should be thrown out as the state will likely move to certify the results of the Nov. 8 election in favor of Democrat Katie Hobbs.
Earlier this month, Lake filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County to request election records so she can challenge the results of the election. At the same time, Lake alleged that Republican voters were disenfranchised by Election Day issues across Maricopa County
Deputy County Attorney Joseph Branco told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott Blaney in a hearing on Dec. 3 that Lake is entitled to the county’s records, according to local media reports.
However, Branco claimed that the Republican candidate is “jumping to the front of the line” while asserting that “setting this (claim) on an expedited schedule I think would set a terrible precedent.”
“County agencies receive requests from inmates who believe that the records they are going to receive will lead to their liberty,” he said.
“If the court was to order some type of relief today … there is nothing under Arizona law that would provide for the immediate production or immediately produce and make available those records.”
Election data shows that Lake is currently trailing Hobbs, the Arizona secretary of state, by about 17,000 votes. All of Arizona’s counties, including holdout Cochise County, voted to certify their respective election results last week. Hobbs is set to certify it statewide on Dec. 5.
An attorney for Lake, Tim La Sota, told the judge during the hearing that Lake’s team needs the records quickly due to the pending certification deadline.
“This information loses not all of its value but a lot of its value in an election context pretty quickly,” he said, according to Tuscon.com.
At the same time, La Sota alleged that Maricopa County’s inability or unwillingness to provide records within days of Lake’s request violates the law.
Late last month, Lake said she needs Maricopa County’s records so that she can file a larger lawsuit. It came days after an official in Arizona’s Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to Maricopa officials, demanding it turn over information after voters complained to the attorney general’s office during the Nov. 8 election.
“In this case, ‘promptly’ must mean sufficiently in advance of the canvassing to permit plaintiff and the court to quickly determine the full extent of the problems identified and their impacts on electors due to numerous documented failures in the (county’s) administration of the election,’’ La Sota said.
In a separate case, a judge on Dec. 3 dismissed (pdf) a lawsuit against Hobbs and Maricopa County that had referenced Election Day voting issues across the county.
The lawsuit, brought by Republican House candidate Josh Barnett, asserted that there was “election maladministration” across Maricopa County during the Nov. 8 midterms. Barnett lost the Republican primary to David Schweikert in August.