Judge Rejects Incoming Arizona Gov Katie Hobbs’ Request For Sanctions Against Kari Lake

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images/Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
Font Size:

A Maricopa County judge rejected a legal request put forth by county officials and Democratic Arizona governor-elect Katie Hobbs on Tuesday to sanction her former Republican opponent, Kari Lake.

Hobbs joined Maricopa County in filing a request to sanction Lake for bringing forth a lawsuit challenging the November election with allegations of intentional misconduct and fraud, in which Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ruled that Lake’s witnesses in the case lacked substantial evidence of the alleged misconduct.

Hobbs and the county alleged Monday that Lake’s election claims were “groundless” and “not made in good faith,” according to the suit. Their request sought $25,050, including $18,730 in attorneys’ fees, under the assertion that the cost compensated for Lake previously revealing that she would not accept election results unless she won.

Thompson ruled Tuesday that Lake’s claims were not “groundless” or brought in “bad faith” and thus sanctions were unjustifiable.

“The court finds that Plaintiff’s [Lake] claims presented in this litigation were not groundless and brought in bad faith under Arizona Revised Statutes,” the ruling read. “Therefore, it is ordered denying Defendant’s Motions For Attorney Fees and Sanctions.”

CHANDLER, AZ - SEPTEMBER 20: Arizona Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake greets the audience during a stop on her Ask Me Anything Tour at American Way Market on September 20, 2022 in Chandler, Arizona. Lake, the Trump-endorsed nominee for governor, faces Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in November. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, AZ – SEPTEMBER 20: (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

However, the judge ordered Lake to pay at total of $33,040.50 to Hobbs to compensate for the costs of expert witnesses who testified in the hearing connected to Lake’s now-dismissed lawsuit, according to the documents. He ruled that Lake owes Hobbs $5,900.00 for the testimony of Ryan Macias, $22,451.00 for Hobbs’ testimony and $4,689.50 for Maxwell Schechter, who was ordered to be present at the inspection of ballots. (RELATED: ‘Why Not Debate Your Opponent?’: Don Lemon Calls Out Katie Hobbs For Ducking Debates)

Bryan Blehm, an attorney for Lake, argued to the court Monday that her witnesses laid out “detailed facts” to prove “intentional misconduct” brought forth by election officials, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller. His document to the court asserted that Lake and her witnesses testified before the court with “legitimate” concerns about the state of Arizona’s election processes.

Lake narrowly lost to Hobbs by one percentage point, 50.4%-49.5%, almost one week after the Nov. 8 election. The candidate refused to concede the race and called the results “BS” in a tweet Nov. 14.

Maricopa County witnessed roughly 60 malfunctioning voting machines, which caused problems in 25% of the polling locations, Reuters reported Nov. 9. The issues resulted in election officials taking six days to count the results. A judge rejected a Republican-led request to keep polls open past 7 p.m., arguing voters had the ability to vote despite the number of malfunctioned machines.