After ruling against Kari Lake in a remanded election trial challenging her gubernatorial loss to Katie Hobbs, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson rejected Maricopa County’s motion for sanctions against Lake on Friday, just three days after their attorneys filed the request. The county’s attorneys asserted that Lake’s team made several false statements to the court. Lake’s attorneys filed a response opposing the request on Thursday.
Thompson laid out the standard for awarding sanctions. He cited A.R.S. § 12-349, which states that sanctions are warranted where a party “brings or defends a claim without substantial justification or primarily for delay or harassment, unreasonably expands or delays the proceeding, or engages in abuse of discovery.” Thompson added, “The statute defines ‘without substantial justification’ as ‘groundless’ and ‘not made in good faith.
Thompson addressed one of the defendants’ claims specifically, but didn’t even bother going over the rest of them, brushing them off in a broad dismissal. The claim he went over was the assertion that “Lake ‘unnecessarily expanded these proceedings’ by intentionally misstating the content of a witness’s testimony in her Rule 60 motion and that she proceeded to trial on a claim she knew lacked factual merit based on her own witness’s statements.” Thompson cited Lake’s accusation that “Maricopa County officials, instead of attempting to cure ballots, systematically pushed mismatched ballots through for tabulation without following the required procedures.”
Thompson disagreed with the defendants’ characterization of the standard for sanctions. He said, “This view mistakenly looks beyond trial to the ultimate resolution of the merits and does not allow for presentation of evidence to prove a disputed claim.”
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