Kari Lake may face hundreds of thousands of dollars in court imposed sanctions

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 6:59 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Former Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate, Republican Kari Lake, could be facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees imposed on her by the courts for her lawsuit challenging the election results.

The courts ruled her lawsuit attempting to overturn the election was not backed up by evidence showing that there was wrongdoing on the part of the Secretary of State, Governor-elect Katie Hobbs or the Maricopa County Board of elections.

In his ruling, Judge Peter Thompson, ruled that the case did not meet the legal standards to overturn the election and asked the plaintiffs in the case to file for sanctions.

Those sanctions add up to nearly $700,000.

“Motions for sanctions are not very common in the legal world so this is an unusual thing,” said Phoenix Attorney Paul Weich.

It’s very unusual for candidates who lose elections to file lawsuits challenging those elections although it has grown in popularity since former President Donald Trump refused to concede the 2020 presidential race.

Lake ran her campaign based on Trump’s 2020 election denial and has also refused to concede.

“Attorneys are required not to file these, that is frivolous, harassment or for delay, otherwise they are subject to these kinds of sanctions,” Weich said. “I think part of it is trying to reach that deterrent level where it will deter cases that don’t have evidence to sustain a case.”

In her two day case, Lake’s attorneys and expert witnesses were not able to produce evidence that showed machine malfunctions and alleged nefarious actions on the part of the elections officials were enough to overturn the election which she lost by 17,711 votes.

In this case, the courts could sanction the attorney’s individually, Lake alone or Lake and her attorneys together. Whatever Judge Thompson decides, it will have one overarching goal.

“Before you make accusations, you have to have gotten the evidence and gathered enough evidence to bring a legitimate case and they just didn’t do that,” Weich said.

In one of the pleadings asking for sanctions against Lake’s lawyers, Kurt Olsen and Bryan Blehm, the lawyer for the Maricopa County elections office said “Enough is really enough. It is time to end these unfounded attacks on our elections…”

The county attorney’s office is asking for $25,000, the Secretary of State’s office is asking for $36,000 and Governor-elect Hobbs is asking for more than $600,000.

Several attorneys who asked for smaller amounts said it would likely be higher if given more time by the court to assess all the billable hours. “We see the secretary of state, the county, are asking for more money as we see more and more of these cases, trying to reach that deterrent,” Weich said.

It’s not certain that level of deterrent has been reached. Lake has promised to appeal to the Arizona State Supreme Court.