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Maricopa County seeks sanctions against Lake’s attorneys



Lawyers for Maricopa County have asked a judge to issue sanctions against former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s legal team for its “heinous and profoundly harmful” claims that the November 2022 election was “rigged.”

In a request late Monday, deputy county attorneys laid out five “material misrepresentations of fact” made by Lake’s lawyers leading up to and during a three-day trial last week. The attorneys ask the judge to order Lake’s attorneys to pay a fine, although they leave the amount up to the court to determine.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson on Monday affirmed Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ win in November and rejected Lake’s claims that improper signature verification and misconduct affected the outcome.

If Thompson agrees to order sanctions, his would be the second court to do so in Lake’s six-month legal effort to overturn her loss to Hobbs.

End of saga: Judge rules against Kari Lake, affirms Katie Hobbs as Arizona governor in election signature verification trial

Earlier this month, the Arizona Supreme Court sanctioned and fined Lake’s lawyers $2,000 for repeatedly making “unequivocally false” statements in court. Thompson has once before declined to sanction Lake’s lawyers, following her first trial in December, though he did order Lake to pay $33,000 to cover the costs of Hobbs’ expert witnesses.

According to the latest sanction request, Lake’s legal team — Bryan Blehm of Scottsdale and Kurt Olsen of Washington, D.C., — continued making false claims even after the Supreme Court admonishment.

The county contends Lake’s lawyers:

  • Misrepresented the findings of an independent investigation of printer problems that plagued Maricopa County on Election Day.

  • Misstated prior testimony of Director of Elections Scott Jarrett and claimed he lied in court, an allegation that already had been found meritless by three courts.

  • “Presented uncertainty as certainty” in claiming 8,000 ballots were improperly rejected from the count, which the court previously had said was not supported by evidence.

  • Pushed forward with a “frivolous” claim that Maricopa County did not do signature verification on early ballots, when Lake’s own witnesses testified last week they were part of the process

  • “Engaged in a blatant effort to deceive” the judge by claiming the election was “rigged,” without even attempting to back up the claim with any evidence at trial or questions to witnesses.

“Lake and her counsel engaged in a program of intentional and repeated fallacious misstatements of fact to mislead this Court,” the county sanctions request, signed by civil division chief Tom Liddy, reads. “This conduct is plainly unethical and warrants sanctions from this Court.”

Sanctions are a court-ordered deterrent for bad or unethical behavior; they can include financial penalties and serve as a form of public reprimand against attorneys.

Lake, the former television news anchor turned first-time candidate in 2022, has pledged to appeal her latest loss in the case. On Tuesday, hours before the county sought sanctions for her team’s false claims in court, Lake echoed them in a news conference pledging to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and flirting with a run for U.S. Senate in 2024.

She announced an effort to register voters and chase mail-in ballots, though provided few details of those efforts, and she referenced her prior attacks on mail-in ballots, which she has falsely claimed were used to “steal our vote” in the 2020 election.

“While you know how I feel about mail-in ballots, if this is the game we have to play, if we got to work in their rigged system, we’ll work in their rigged system,” Lake told reporters Tuesday.

Reach reporter Stacey Barchenger at or 480-416-5669. Follow her on Twitter @sbarchenger.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Maricopa County seeks sanctions against Kari Lake’s attorneys

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