Kari Lake should be sanctioned for lies during election trial

Kari Lake and her lawyers repeatedly lied to the court and misrepresented evidence during her election challenge trial last week and should be sanctioned for it, attorneys for Maricopa County wrote in a Tuesday filing

“The misstatements of fact from Lake and her counsel are not a series of mere accidents or zealous advocacy; they represent a determined program of misinformation,” Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Tom Liddy wrote in the filing.

“Lake and her counsel have absolutely no excuse for offering these falsehoods in Court and should face sanctions from this Court,” he added.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ruled against Lake on May 22, saying she failed to prove during a three-day trial last week that Maricopa County ignored state law and performed no signature verification for early ballots during the 2022 general election. 

In his ruling, Thompson affirmed that Democrat Katie Hobbs, who beat Lake by 17,000 votes, is the governor of Arizona. 

Liddy pointed out in the county’s request for sanctions that Lake and her lawyers, D.C. employment attorney Kurt Olsen and Scottsdale divorce lawyer Bryan Blehm, were recently sanctioned by the Arizona Supreme Court for making false statements to that court. 

“Ethical parties would have been suitably admonished by both the Supreme Court’s statement that they made ‘unequivocally false’ statements to the Court and the monetary sanction that the Supreme Court consequently issued,” Liddy wrote. “But Lake and her counsel were not deterred. Instead, they were inexplicably emboldened.”

Last week’s trial was Lake’s second in Thompson’s courtroom. She lost the first trial in December and appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, which sent one of her 10 initial claims back to Thompson for further examination and upheld the dismissal of the other nine.

Lake’s claim that Maricopa County conducted no signature verification was “entirely frivolous,” Liddy wrote, and her attorneys were completely aware of that, especially since two of her witnesses testified that they participated in signature verification for the county. 

“This testimony — known by Lake and her counsel before trial and offered to substantiate her signature verification claim — conclusively defeated Lake’s spurious assertion that signature verification did not occur,” Liddy wrote. “Lake and her counsel cannot now argue that they thought her claim stood any chance of success when her own fact witnesses would testify that signature verification did, in fact, occur.” 

During the trial, Olsen and Blehm attempted to prove that, because their expert claimed election workers for the county approved 274,000 ballot signatures in 3 seconds or fewer and 70,000 signatures in 2 seconds or fewer, the required signature verification didn’t actually happen. But the judge wasn’t buying that argument, saying that Arizona law does not specify an amount of time a worker must spend reviewing a signature. 

Liddy also called out Olsen for claiming during closing arguments that the election was rigged against Lake, without providing a shred of evidence for his claim. 

“Lake not only failed to prove that the election was rigged by a clear and convincing evidence standard, but also she did not bother attempting to prove the election was ‘rigged’ at trial,” Liddy wrote. “She did not even ask a single witness any question that could have elicited evidence that the election was rigged.”

Since she lost the gubernatorial race six months ago, Lake has repeatedly claimed that she is the true governor and that the election was rigged against her, but so far none of the courts have found her supposed evidence of this assertion compelling. 

“Lake’s counsel engaged in a blatant effort to deceive the Court when he said that the election was ‘rigged,’” Liddy wrote. “Blatantly false statements like this should prompt a strong retributive response from the Court.” 

Maricopa County asked that the court financially sanction Lake and her attorneys in an amount that the court determined was appropriate. They also are seeking for their attorneys’ fees to be paid by Lake and her attorneys in addition to the sanctions.

The other defendants in the case, Hobbs and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, haven’t yet requested sanctions.

In their response, Lake and her team suggested that all parties in the case pay their own attorneys’ fees and said that county and other defendants in the case were not owed reimbursement of their fees because they didn’t ask for specific amounts by the court’s deadline. 

During a Tuesday press conference during which she railed against the media and made the “big announcement” that she was starting a ballot chasing program, Lake said she planned to appeal her second trial loss. She didn’t offer any details on that plan.

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